The embarrassment of going to a clinic to get tested for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) may one day be easily avoidable. Testing may soon require only a computer chip and a place to pee on one. In an attempt to cut the UK's rising rates of various herpes, chlamydia, and gonorrhea, British health officials say that STDs will soon be diagnosable by placing urine or saliva on a computer chip and plugging it into a cell phone or computer.
"Your mobile phone can be your mobile doctor," Dr. Tariq Sadiq, a senior lecturer and consultant physician in sexual health and HIV at the University of London, who is leading the project, told the Guardian. "It diagnoses whether you've got one of a range of STIs, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea and tells you where to go next to get treatment. We need to tackle the rising epidemic of STIs, which have been going up and up and up. Britain is one of the worst [countries] in western Europe for teenage pregnancy and STIs. That there's a major embarrassment factor here, especially among young people, makes the situation worse."
Seven sources, including the Medical Research Council, have invested £4 million ($6.41 million) into the UK Clinical Research Collaboration to fund the project. Unfortunately, details regarding when the technology will go retail are still unknown. One day, parents will have to remind their teenagers that condoms can fit in their pockets too, just like cell phones.