HeHealth App Quickly Allays (Or Confirms) Male STD Fears


Are you ready for condition-specific, at-home health screening scans from your smartphone?

Sooley Insoles offers a 3D screening app designed to address foot misalignment and pain. Images from free foot scans are then used in conjunction with free video assessments by a German podiatrist. The goal: get users to buy customized insoles.

AI Dermatologist’s subscription skin screening app promises to detect the risk of 29 diseases, including skin cancer and precancerous lesions,in just a minute.

And now we have HeHealth, an app that screens for male sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

“HeHealth's neural network AI can detect potential STDs and even rare conditions like penile cancer almost instantly through digital imagery,” the company says. “This technology offers a discreet, efficient, and comfortable STD screening alternative, challenging the stigma and misinformation that often leads people to unreliable self-diagnosis methods and extreme anxiety.”

The app provides users with instant results of possible conditions, and then a doctor’s review within 24 hours.

We asked Dr. Yudara Kularathne, HeHealth’s co-founder and CEO with a background in emergency medicine, about his app.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Pharma & Health Insider: Why did you decide to focus on men’s penile health?

Dr. Yudara Kularathne:  Two years ago, I received a frantic call from a close friend in the middle of the night. Gripped by fear, guilt, and anxiety, my friend confided in me that he believed he had contracted HIV after developing a rash following an unprotected sexual encounter. Overwhelmed with worry, he turned to the internet for answers, only to be consumed by depression and thoughts of suicide when he misinterpreted his symptoms.

After rushing to his side, we discovered my friend actually had "Pearly Penile Papules," a completely normal physiological condition.

His experience navigating online images, only to spiral into despair, serves as a stark reminder of the profound impact sexual health has on our mental state and the urgent need for accessible, accurate, and stigma-free information and support systems.

P&HI: When did HeHealth launch, and how many users/downloads have you had?

Dr. Kularathne: We launched our beta globally in June 2023, and full services, including clinical, in the U.S in October. We’ve had 40,000 completed users, and 80%+ are from the U.S.

P&HI: How are you monetizing HeHealth?

Dr. Kularathne: A full AI-driven scan with doctors' feedback cost $19.99.

P&HI: Do you plan to extend your technology to other parts of the body?

Dr. Kularathne: We are extending to anal screening in Q2 and females in Q4.

P&HI: What can you tell us about the state of STDs in the U.S.? Is there a crisis?

Dr. Kularathne:  Despite advancements in medical technology and public health interventions, STD rates continue to soar, prompting the CDC to issue a public health emergency. According to the CDC, more than 2.5 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were reported in the U.S. in 2022 alone. [Our] timing couldn’t be more prudent as state funding for STD treatment was cut by $400 million last fall.

P&HI: How important has AI been to your product?

Dr. Kularathne:  AI helps us provide immediate accessibility, privacy and anonymity, cost-effectiveness, and a reduction in misinformation. Young people prefer to text instead of talk. They prefer instant results to waiting. AI and tech can fill this gap.

P&HI: How are you getting word out to consumers about the product?

Dr. Kularathne: Social media, SEO with sexual health blogs, and influencer partnerships.

P&HI: Do you have future plans for marketing/advertising?

Dr. Kularathne: We are planning a few brand partnerships this year. We already collaborated with Tenga [a brand of male masturbation aids] for Valentine’s Day.

P&HI: Does HeHealth work with healthcare professionals?

Dr. Kularathne: Yes. Our full services  [including connections with local doctors through partnerships with clinics]  are only available in the state of California at this point, and we partner with doctors through a CityHealth [urgent care] partnership. We are planning to extend to other states soon.

P&HI: You’re asking men to take some very intimate photos. How do you assure privacy?

Dr. Kularathne: We do not collect any personally identifiable information such as name, phone number, birthday, or address. We require only the creation of an anonymous account to access our services confidentially. This process of anonymization ensures that personal information remains confidential and is not linked to HeHealth data.

Next story loading loading..