Skip to main content

From sexting to having readily available porn in your pocket, smartphones have revolutionized the sexual experience of most young people. Now there's a doctor hoping to make that revolution just a little bit safer by creating an app that's designed to encourage safe sex.

Dr. Michael Nusbaum calls his concept "safe bumping," and his app (named MedXCom) is designed to allow potential sexual partners to "bump" their phones together, which will then spread their STD standing.

"If you happen to be out at a bar or a fraternity house or wherever, and you meet someone, you can then bump phones and exchange contact information and STD status," Nusbaum told ABCNews.

Story continues below advertisement

Certainly there is a need for more sexual health sharing prior to actually doing the deed. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that, according to a 2011 poll , 47.4 per cent of teens have had intercourse and nearly half of the 19 million new STDs each year are cases of people aged 15 to 24.

Health Canada paints an equally unsettling picture: In 2005, 43 per cent of teens were sexually active and 25 per cent of them were not using condoms.

So what happens if you have had or currently have a STD? That information is kept secret but your phone will remind you to get another STD check-up. So the app is really more of a badge of clean sexual health rather than a less wordy way of discussing all of the details.

But like any aspect of sex, there are a few catches.

One is that there has to be a willingness of person to a) get screened by a doctor and have that information uploaded to his or her phone, and b) want to share that intimate information with strangers.

"It can take months for HIV to show up on a test," Renee Williams, executive director of SAFE, a non-profit organization dedicated to abstinence education, told ABCNews. "So you can test negative today, go out on Friday night and have sex, and then get retested later and find out that you had HIV all along."

Plus, critics point out the app does nothing to prevent unplanned pregnancies (well, duh).

Story continues below advertisement

Fundamentally, though, it's a numbers game. For this to be effective, it has to infect the promiscuous population.

"Should this kind of practice catch on at parties, it's easy to see how this could bring the teen STD rate down," Jezebel's Anna Breslaw writes. "But the idea of people trading clean bills of sexual health like Pokemon cards at a fraternity's 'CEOs and Corporate Hos' party is a little bit farfetched."

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter