Ramin Bastani thinks he’s found a better way to have “the talk.”
His smartphone application, Hula, allows users to find sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing centers, publish their testing results online and share their verified STD status with potential partners.
“A girl slapped me in the face when I asked if she was tested,” Bastani said. “I just thought that there has to be a better way to have this conversation.”
The application is just one of the ways conversation surrounding sexual health is being emphasized both nationally and at UNC — just in time for National STD Awareness Month.
Bastani said the biggest problem is letting patients access their medical records. To combat this, Hula is working with healthcare providers to get this information to patients faster.
In addition to being used to retrieve medical records, Hula is often used as a compliment to dating apps such as Tinder. Though many dating sites have reached out to Hula, there are no formal partnerships.
One user called to thank Bastani after using the application before having relations with a woman he met on Tinder. The woman decided to get tested too at the man’s suggestion and found she had HIV.
“We’re changing people’s behaviors,” Bastani said. “Now this guy will always check out partners before hooking up.”
However, despite being used alongside dating apps, Hula is not one of them. Instead, Bastani said Hula is very much like a personal health record. It already covers vaccination records and is hoping to expand to other health information as time goes on.