Future of Sex

HerSwab Lets Women Test Themselves for Cervical Cancer and HPV

Detect sexually transmitted infections from the comfort of your own home.

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Cervical cancer is the 14th most prevalent cancer in the world. According to the World Health Organization, the disease affects 530,000 women each year and takes 275,000 lives.

However, it is the easiest cancer to prevent among women when proper screening and follow-up take place. Lesions found via pap smears can be treated before they become cancerous, and early stage cervical cancer can be managed relatively well. The crucial factor in stopping the disease is to find it before it reaches an advanced stage.

Many women affected don’t have access to sexual health care. Without being regularly tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), they are at risk of becoming infertile or developing cervical cancer.

Even those of us with access to sexual health care often aren’t tested as regularly as we should be. Pap smears and STI tests aren’t fun. They can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. Many women are reluctant to be tested for fear of judgement and discrimination from their doctors.

That’s why Jessica Ching, co-founder of Toronto-based sexual health startup Eve Medical, createdHerSwab. While speaking with women about an upcoming appointment, she was prompted to find an alternative way to manage sexual health.

Read the full piece at Future of Sex. 

Image source: Manuel Medina

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New Background Check Technology can Thwart Sexual Violence and Harassment

facial recognition technology

Facial recognition and text analysis are preventing women from meeting attackers.

There was no way for Katia to know the man she’d met online was planning to rape her. Like many women using online dating apps and websites, she was cautious and did everything right.

On the night of their first date, the college graduate told her mother and best friend where she would be. She presumed safety in the public locale of a city bar, and she was right, for a time.

Katia continued to see the man, text him, and speak to him on the phone. Having gained her trust, he was privy to her home address. It wasn’t until after the fourth date that things started to go wrong.

One night the man she’d met online, and had considered up until that point to be a “cool guy,” showed up at her apartment with a bottle of wine laced with Rohypnol and raped her.

Katia was beaten and threatened at knifepoint in a five-hour aggravated rape and assault. Despite surviving the ordeal, her life was torn apart. And sadly, even retrospectively, there had been no way to predict it—until now.

New and innovative reverse image searching

Named after one of the many victims of aggravated rape, KATIA aims to stop women from ever meeting an attacker. Responding to the flaws of traditional background checks, which require both first and last names, the program takes advantage of the assets women often have: pictures and text.

An evidence-based rape screening tool, the program uses two unique programming techniques with “R,” a statistical computer and graphics language, to highlight potential dangers.

Read the full post at Future of Sex.

Image source: NEC Corporation of America with Creative Commons License 

First U.S. Womb Transplant May Allow Infertile Women to Give Birth

uterus transplabnt pic

Trans women and men could one day become pregnant, too. 

Surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic have become the first in the United States to perform a uterus transplant. The nine-hour surgery took place on Feb. 24 when an organ from a deceased donor was successfully implanted into a 26-year-old patient.

If the trial’s success continues, it may give women born without a uterus, or who have had one removed due to uterine damage, their only chance to carry a child. This transplant is one of ten test procedures planned by the clinic.

The uterus, cervix, and part of the vagina are removed from the donor. Surgeons also remove the small blood vessels that are connected to the uterus. These vessels then connect the donor’s uterus to the patient’s larger blood vessels on the outside of the pelvis. If the patient still has fallopian tubes or ovaries, they are left unconnected.

Because of the nature of the transplant, it’s impossible for recipients to give birth naturally. They will have to wait a year after the procedure for their bodies to heal before starting in vitro fertilization (IVF). When ready, the baby is delivered via caesarean.

Like all transplants, the patient is required to take anti-rejection medication. Because of this, the uterus is removed after one or two babies have been born.

Read the full post at Future of Sex.

Image source: Eric Schmuttenmaer

 

 

On-Demand Sexual Health Apps Offer Peace of Mind and LGBT-Inclusive Products

Sexual health app Screet is getting a “super-queer reboot.”

Originally conceived during the 2015 Startup Bus Competition, a three-day bus ride/hackathon, the app spawned from a sleepy, 5am suggestion to create an “Uber for condoms.” But after learning the market had been filled by providers like L International and Durex, a group of innovators changed focus.

Instead, Screet co-founder Creatrix Tiara found a gap in on-demand sexual health products and contraception, specifically those aimed at women and members of the LGBT community. And although the original Startup Bus team has dissolved, Tiara is still fighting to make Screet the go-to place for inclusive, accessible products.

Read the full piece at Future of Sex.

Image via Tanay Mondal.