Meet Ursula Hessenflow she is on a mission to increase the frequency of STI testing by making it more convenient and less stigmatizing. Ova recently connected with Ursula to learn more about her company myLAB Box.
What is the current state of STI testing in the United States? How does myLAB Box fit into this landscape?
We are in desperate need of another sexual revolution. The CDC recently reported that one in every three Americans is living with a sexually transmitted infection. myLAB Box is the first and only service to offer nationwide at-home testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.
Studies routinely show that neither men nor women get tested for STDs on a consistent basis. Less than half of adults ages 18 through 44 have ever been tested for any STD at all, other than HIV. Yet, as many as 80% of infected individuals don’t experience symptoms.
The traditional testing methods obviously are not working, so we created myLAB Box as an alternative solution. myLAB Box’s at-home testing works as a convenient and private way to keep yourself (and others) safe. This is a revolutionary time for the healthcare industry, and doubly so for sexual healthcare. There is now a safe, effective private solution that can make a huge change in our collective sexual health.
How does myLAB Box Work? What should a woman expect when using your product for the first time?
myLAB Box is easy to use. Our experts have designed a program that makes frequent STD screening easy and convenient so you can take control of your health with a click from the comfort of your home at half the cost. Use it as often as you’d like – you are in charge!
If you receive a positive result, our experts will work with you to provide counseling and direct you to the proper medical care. You can even elect to have a complimentary treatment consultation with one of our telemedicine physicians.
What stories or conversations with women stand out to you as key motivators for creating myLAB Box?
We have encountered two scenarios over and over. The first is that getting tested is – let’s face it – inconvenient. Many working women (and men) simply can’t spare the time to head to a clinic for regular STD screenings.
The other problem is shame and embarrassment. People just don’t like talking about STDs. But ignoring STDs won’t change the fact that they, like it or not, are a big part of our lives. STDs are a critical part of a mature discussion about sex.
As a culture, we need to smash the stigma around sexually transmitted diseases. The notion of someone “testing regularly” shouldn’t be seen as shameful, it should be seen as healthy. At myLAB Box, we aim to make regular testing as commonplace as brushing your teeth.
What has been the biggest challenge in developing myLAB Box?
Last month, we set up a booth at SXSW’s MedTech Expo. It was an amazing experience. We were surrounded by so many forward-thinking medical technologies: from apps to algorithms, we saw a wide array of incredible ideas. It was like looking into the future of medicine. But we were one of the only startups dedicated to advancing sexual healthcare. And certainly the only one led by two women.
The healthcare industry is in desperate need of another sexual revolution, and it absolutely needs the help of women. The traditional testing methods obviously are not working, but breaking through the existing barriers can be challenging.
We need strong women who are prepared to go out on a limb for the sexual well-being of not just themselves, but everyone else in the nation. Women that are willing to see “getting tested” as something empowering. A way to truly take control of their sex life. Through our work with myLAB Box, I believe there’s still a lot to accomplish, but we’re well on our way!
What women entrepreneurs inspire you?
Oprah Winfrey as she is what many people would have perceived as the underdog, especially as a television celebrity - female, African American, up and down with weight loss struggles, yet she is now a household name and has built an empire on a foundation of making a difference in people’s lives.
Please Note: Ova has not tested this product and this is not an endorsement of this company. We are excited to learn more about companies that are trying to move the needle for intimate health.