How to avoid having to pop the ‘STD’ question while dating

WASHINGTON — Dating has changed a lot in recent years, but one thorny topic is still uncomfortable to discuss for both partners.

“It goes like this: ‘Ummmm, do you have any STDs,'” says Oksana Wright, co-founder of Social Health Registry, a mobile web application that enables and encourages adults to broach the subject of sexually-transmitted diseases.

“Many people don’t even bring it up because of how awkward it actually is,” said Wright, who began the Leesburg, Virginia-based startup with her husband in 2017.

April is STD Awareness month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis are at an all-time high.

After registering for an account on the SHR platform, partners can reach for their devices to relay information about their medical status.

“You just pull up your phone, you have your profile on there, that gives you a badge based on how many days since your last STD test,” Wright said.

Currently, a user’s status is based largely on self-reporting.

“The user would go get tested with the provider of their choice, and then upload their own results,” Wright said.

She said the company would like to partner with laboratories, which could seamlessly transfer test results to the SHR platform.

In addition, Wright said she hopes her platform will be integrated onto dating apps or sites.

“We want to give users peace of mind when they are matching with a person whose profile is marked with an SHR badge,” she said.

In phase two, Wright said the company will introduce iOS and Android apps.

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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