Have you ever wanted a chat with a Dutch robot about your sex-life?
If so, that dream is one step closer to being realised. Soa Aids Nederland is a Dutch organisation specialised in promoting sexual health and combating HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STD/Is). They’ve now launched a STD chatbot to make it easier for people to talk about concerns regarding their sexual health.
This is to encourage more people to go see their GP or the Netherlands’ Public Health Service (GGD).
The digitalisation of health care: STD Chatbot
Who’s the STD Chatbot for?
The Dutch STD chatbot caters to everyone with internet access, but it is targeted at specific groups at a higher risk of catching STD/Is. Mainly, these are migrants and gay men. Young people also might benefit a lot, as they’re likely to be less informed and most prone to go online for help, be shy, or to get worried easily.
It’s a really great initiative and fully anonymous. You can just use your laptop or phone to answer some multiple-choice questions. At any point, you can ask the bot a question too. It’s very thorough and asks about whether you’re a woman, man, or transgender, it asks about your partners, it checks whether you were raped, whether you’ve ever been paid for sex, and so on.
Be aware, it doesn’t replace a visit to a human specialist! You should always call or go see your GP if you’re worried. The chatbot also cannot consider every possible health problem, only STD/Is.
The bad news
The bad news is, STD Chatbot only speaks Dutch.
That seems a bit silly, given that it’s targeted at people with a migratory background. And as stigma is often high for exactly these groups, they’re unlikely to feel comfortable with grabbing a Dutch-speaker to translate their intimate details.
Possibly, the service will be translated to other languages at some point (it is very new). But it seems an odd oversight.
Another hiccup is that the site is not ideal for mobile users.
All in all though, I think this is a useful initiative by the organisations involved. Would just like to see it translated!