Planned Parenthood launches app so Californians can order STD tests

By Aditi Pai

Planned Parenthood DirectPlanned Parenthood Affiliates of California launched an app, called Planned Parenthood Direct, that helps people order confidential STD testing kits, which arrive through the mail. This feature was also added to another Planned Parenthood app that serves Minnesota and Washington.

The new app will alert users via secure message with their results and if they test positive, the app will also help them order a treatment. Tests are available for chlamydia and gonorrhea. Users who order tests from Planned Parenthood Direct, which is only available in California, can get the STD test and treatment for $149. Planned Parenthood Direct does not take insurance for the tests.

This is the second app Planned Parenthood has launched in the last year. In September 2014, Planned Parenthood launched a pilot program for an app, called Planned Parenthood Care, that prescribes birth control to women via video visits, powered by American Well, and then sends them either the pill, the patch, or the ring through the mail. That app is available in Minnesota and Washington.

At the time, the Planned Parenthood Care app didn't include an STD testing service, but the company has since added functionality very similar to that of California's Planned Parenthood Direct app. If Planned Parenthood Care users have insurance, they can get a portion of the video visits covered. Plans accepted include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Health Partners, Preferred One, and Medica.

“Planned Parenthood Care and Planned Parenthood Direct provide the same high-quality health care people have trusted Planned Parenthood to provide for nearly 100 years," Cecile Richards,
president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement. "What’s new is now our clinicians can literally meet people where they are -- wherever they are -- to get them the care they need, when they need it. These apps are about expanding access to the economic, educational, and health benefits that come along with access to quality reproductive healthcare.”

Planned Parenthood also released user data about their other online services. The company's website, which is available in English and Spanish and offers information about contraception, sex, and reproductive health, sees 6 million visitors each month. The organization's chat and text program, which connects youth to a real person who will answer their questions, has served nearly 475,000 users so far. Planned Parenthood said it plans to add online appointment scheduling at dozens of its affiliates around the country.