Hula allows users to immediately check on and verify a prospective lover’s sexually transmitted disease (STD) status, share health records privately as well as find testing locations. Hula is available as an iPhone app and online. HIV positive users may use Hula to report the level of HIV in their blood or their “viral load” to determine how infectious they are and to reveal whether or not they are taking their prescribed medication.
Hula is free to everyone 13-years-old and up. The site has a variety of users such as teens, college students, middle-aged, senior citizens, porn actors and swingers.
The founder and CEO of Hula, Ramin Bastani, created this website as a result of a personal experience. This Los Angeles resident was out with friends, many years ago, when he met an attractive woman. As they went back to his home and were on the verge of sexual relations he asked her if she had ever been tested for an STD. His question offended her so much that she slapped him across his face and stormed out.
It was then that Bastani decided there had to be a better way to bring up the serious and important issue of STDs with a potential partner. In 2010 he began to translate his thoughts to action and came up with the online site Hula. Hula now services health care providers and consumers across the United States of America.
This website builds software for health care providers which helps them get results to patients, optimize workflow and several other needs. Hula has plans to extend its services to eventually provide additional health record information.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s privacy practices and access control standards are both met by Hula’s standards. It has privacy settings that allow users to hide their real name for complete privacy or they can choose to display their name if they wish.
Should a user receive an STD result that is positive, sharing on Hula will immediately be disabled to ensure the user’s privacy. This feature allows the user complete control over their health records. Depending on their level of comfort they have the option to turn sharing back on and after they have received treatment they can go in and update their profile to reflect the most current results.
For users the Hula app provides the ability to retrieve and request health records, share those records privately with another person either via iPhone or in person. It also provides locations for STD testing and a reminder that it is time to be retested.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, in the United States 20 million people are infected with an STD every year. Bastani has confirmed Hula verifies HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, hepatitis A, B, and C, Chlamydia, herpes and the HPV vaccine. He says this is important because STDs cost the health care system nearly $17 billion each year.
“We are just this pipe between the health care provider and the patient’s personal health record to make sure that information gets in their hands,” Bastani said. “We don’t care how you have sex, who you have sex with, or how many different people. It’s not for us to judge. We just want to help you have information at your fingertips that can help you as well as your partner make a better decision when it comes to having sex.”
Bastani said many online daters really love the Hula site because they all share the same concern. They want to know if a potential partner has recently been tested. Just because they answer positive does not really mean that much. Users want to know when the other party was tested, what for and what the results were. Hula allows users the opportunity to “show” the answers to all of those questions.
Hula affords users that opportunity to immediately verify and check on a prospective lover’s STD status, find testing locations and share health records privately. Hula is available as an iPhone app and online.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)