Got STDs? There’s an App For That.

That’s right, worrywarts and hypochondriacs. There’s an app for that weird bump or rash you got after unprotected sex.

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First Derm is an app which you can use to figure out what that weird bump or rash is. As the name implies, it’s meant to be used for skin problems, but rumor has it that it can also be used to diagnose STDs. An STD-detecting app? Say it ain’t so!

Just for giggles, I got First Derm on my phone out of the Apple Store. The app itself is free, which I found to be a little surprising, but I soon found the catch– submitting your photos is not free.

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via First Derm

It begins by asking you to take a picture of the infected area from a couple feet away, then one from very close up. I took pictures of some eczema on my hands just to experience the rest of the app. Then it goes on to ask for some info about you and your ailment. How long have you had it? How old are you? Please describe it in your own words. Are you on any medication? All the same questions a doctor would ask.

That’s when it drops the bomb– you can submit your photos for $24.99 and get your reply from a licensed dermatologist within 48 hours.

$24.99? My insurance’s co-pay is $4.99 less than that. But if I didn’t have health insurance? This would be pretty awesome. And for those in rural areas, or even in places where reliable doctors are difficult to find, this is a great way to get you on the path to health. I obviously didn’t submit since I know what my eczema is, so I have no idea what the process of talking to the dermatologist is like. If you have experience, drop us a line.

I am curious about the legality of all of this, so I did a little digging. Here’s what I found:

  • The company, iDoc24 Inc., is based out of Sweden, and they keep their staff of dermatologists up-to-date on their requirements and health standards.
  • Your case, pictures included, will be kept for ten years. Your pictures may be used in research literature if they don’t contain any identifying characteristics.
  • Over 70% of the photos that iDoc24 receives are of genitals. So don’t worry– you won’t be the first.
  • The goal of the company is not to replace your doctor, but to help you decide if further visits to a medical professional are necessary.
  • If you’re seriously concerned, as with all things, go see a doctor.
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via First Derm

The thing I really love about this app is stated right in the opening line of the app’s description on the Apple Store: 70% of ailments people go to dermatologists about can be fixed with over-the-counter remedies. While the doctors examining First Derm’s pictures can’t prescribe you any medication, they can recommend over-the-counter cures which, despite the $24.99 cost of sending the picture, is going to save you some mega bucks in the long run.

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