Creating a sexual health app to empower young people to get tested for STIs when needed

STIs have risen consistently over the last two years and if left undetected can lead to serious health problems.

London Agency research, with the target audience of women aged 18-36, found there was an interest to know more about their sexual health risk, but a lack of understanding around current public health information. The research found that a discreet reminder would encourage young people to attend sexual health checks.

London Agency with The University of Sydney Medical School developed Geni, a mobile application dedicated to empowering young people to take control of their sexual health. The project is supported by Hologic, global leaders in women’s healthcare, who have pledged to make the world a safer place for all women and girls.

Following a high-impact campaign, Geni reached over 2 million young Australians, ignited digital discussions about sexual health, and resulted in more than 2,000 downloads.

The campaign challenge was to remove the stigma associated with sexual health and ensure young people felt empowered to continue to get tested for STIs if and when they need to.

London Agency partnered with Professor Melissa Kang and her team at The University of Sydney Medical School to review and approve the content provided to users.

Geni acts as a sexual health sidekick, giving users the most relevant and up-to-date information about sexual health so they can feel confident to speak to a healthcare provider.

Geni indicates a user’s risk of having an STI, creates optional, non-invasive, and discreet reminders about booking a sexual health check, and delivers informed advice about sexual health. When the app is first downloaded, users are asked to complete an optional short survey to determine their eligibility for a sexual health check. The survey questions are based on the questionnaire healthcare providers use before they conduct STI tests.

Based on the answers given, Geni determines if a person should attend a sexual health check. Users have the option to book an appointment directly through the app, set a discreet reminder to book an appointment in the future with their current healthcare provider, or with a doctor matched to their sexual health needs. This function means users know their status to keep themselves, and their partners safe.

Geni contains a bank of answers to frequently asked questions about sexual health, a clinic locator and monthly sexual health reminders. The content is designed to be shareable with friends, encouraging young people to feel empowered about their sexual health.

“The app helps young people who might be a little bit timid about asking questions and it can give them some advice, particularly around sexually transmitted diseases and their risk thereof. This app is going to help people to go through a series of checklists to determine whether they need to see a health professional to have a sexual health check-up.”

Dr Karen Price, President of The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).

Geni launched in the iOS and Android app stores in December 2021. London Agency executed a multi-channel communications campaign to launch the app. This included partnering with three prominent sex-positive ambassadors who are popular with the target audience: Abbie Chatfield, Allira Potter and Yumi Stynes. Content created by the ambassadors was cross promoted on the Geni social media channels.

 

London Agency issued media releases to consumer and medical media at key calendar moments, including Valentine’s Day and STI awareness month. Professor Melissa Kang from The University of Sydney, spokespeople from Jean Hailes, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation (ACCF), were involved in the earned media campaign to promote Geni.

Since launch the Geni Risk Checker has been completed over 2,700 times, indicating that users are checking their status more than once. Of those that have completed a Rick Checker assessment in the app, 59% are due or overdue for a sexual health check.

Geni app users report feeling more confident speaking to their healthcare provider now that they have access to the correct information and language to use during a sexual health check.