Many people are wise enough to recognize the importance of STD testing. However, when it comes to taking this important step, plenty will shy away for one major reason; privacy, or lack thereof. Medical professionals are required, by law, to report certain positive STD findings to the appropriate health agencies, according to state law. While the “lack of privacy” issue is an understandable impediment for some, it doesn’t negate the importance of STD testing.
Tracey Powell, a businessman with a solid knowledge of the health care industry and an entrepreneurial spirit, recently decided that he wanted to help people torn between the desire to learn the truth about their health and the need to protect their privacy. To this end, he founded getSTDtested.com, an online company that enables customers to order and get the results of their STD tests in a manner that does not compromise their privacy. So how does Tracey do it?
First, let’s review some facts. There are very few states within the country that allow for anonymous STD testing. In most places, STD reporting is mandatory; so if a person comes up positive for an infectious disease, then the facility or health care professional responsible for reporting such results must name the affected party. Many people choose, for the sake of financial convenience, to get tested for STDs through their insurance companies. However, in doing so, they run the risk of having their identities divulged in the event that their results come up as positive for certain diseases. After all, their identities can easily be verified based on the insurance information provided, making privacy in such situations rather difficult to come by.
Fortunately, getSTDtested.com works very differently. For starters, every customer can log onto a website and indicate which STDs he would like to be tested for. The customer will then either be sent an at-home kit for the collection of a sample, or be directed to a testing facility. If a laboratory visit is necessary, then a medical professional at getSTDtested.com will generate a requisition form with a patient ID number that corresponds to the customer’s testing request and email address. The requisition form will never identify the customer by name; it will simply assign an ID number for internal verification and test result interpretation purposes. After the customer’s sample is collected (whether it be in person or via mail-in kit), it will be analyzed by laboratory professionals, and once the test results are available, they will be provided to the customer. If a customer is found to have an STD, then those responsible for compliance will inform the appropriate agencies of their findings. However, since patient identifiers are limited to randomly-assigned ID numbers and email addresses, the most that they’ll ever be able to report is the fact that a certain unknown person was found to be infected with a specific disease.
But can’t test results be linked to customer credits cards? Absolutely not; as part of its policy, getSTDtested.com never requires a customer name in conjunction with a credit card number used to pay for testing. Since mandatory reporting requirements only cover STD occurrences, not payment data, getSTDtested.com is not obliged to provide credit card purchase information to the proper authorities. Furthermore, the system is such that there is no viable way to link specific credit card payments to the identities of those being tested. After all, a person can get tested for STDs but pay for such services using a relative’s credit card; so even if the credit card data could be tracked (which it can’t), it won’t be able to serve as proof that a particular person was found to have been infected with an STD.
Now it’s important to understand that this system works because getSTDtested.com will always abide by state law. Since the company purposely avoids verifying patient identifications, it is limited in what information it can reasonably share. In other words, getSTDtested.com professionals won’t break the law, but they can’t provide information that they simply do not have. Therefore, they can fulfill their reporting obligations by providing the email addresses and ID numbers of those found to be infected; items that cannot be traced to specific customers. Of course, for privacy purposes, customers do have to be smart about what information they provide; but all a customer really has to do is create an email account that isn’t “first name_last name,” and the government will never be any wiser in the event that there’s something to report.
STD testing is certainly a sensitive matter, so it’s natural to want to protect your identity throughout the process. Thanks to getSTDtested.com, you can get the facts about your health without ever having to surrender your privacy.