A health portal is coming up with novel ways to help fight HIV.
To help fight the epidemic, healthcare technology company Healthvana has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot. It can answer basic questions about HIV, other STIs, and PrEP.
The technology is aimed at offering particular support to minority groups. Black gay men continue to disproportionately make up the HIV figures in the US. One CDC statistic found that Black gay men in the US are 50% likely to acquire the virus during their lifetime, while hispanic gay men have a one in four chance.
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Clear communication is essential to get messages across effectively. To this end, Healthvana offers three modes of chat on its patient portal: a standard AI, a human responder (available during business hours), or a drag queen AI.
Yes, there’s a drag queen chatbox rolling out this month to make things sound less clinical and a little friendlier.
Check out an example of a conversation with the drag queen AI below.
Multiple languages and sass
Healthvana is working with the Biden Administration’s HIV task force in its work. It’s a member of the U.S. Business Action to End HIV. This is a group of over 40 companies, including big-name pharmacies and drug makers, to tackle the HIV epidemic.
The founder of Healthvana is Ramin Bastani. He says the Healthvana patient portal is now being used across 17 states. It’s delivered over 50million patient records to users seeking their health information, including vaccination status reports. It has experience in handling sensitive information, including delivering HIV test results.
The AI chatbot is a new tool to help keep people informed and remind them of appointments. It will be available in around 80 languages. Bastani, the child of immigrants to the US, knows how important it is to use languages users understand.
“The idea is that you’re reaching patients where they’re at,” Bastani told ABC News last month when asked why he thought it important to develop a drag queen option.
“And we’ve been doing this work for the largest technology company in the US, working toward ending HIV, and we have over half a million patients who have used us within their sexual health. So we have a good sense of what questions patients ask and the kinds of things they want.
“We think there are ways to make it a little more lighthearted to reduce some of the stigma that comes along with HIV.”
It also addresses the fact far too many people still feel uncomfortable talking to their human health provider about HIV. They may feel more comfortable talking to a drag queen chatbot that won’t look at them disapprovingly.
Once online, the AI drag-bot will be available 24/7 for patients and delivers test results quickly.
“Instead of waiting a couple of days for the staff to respond, or trying to call the staff or trying to walk in. Hopefully, the AI can address a lot of the more common questions in order to help educate and navigate the patient towards health,” Bastani said during a recent presentation.
The bot’s won’t just help people who are HIV-negative. It’s also able to answer questions from people living with HIV, assuring them the virus is now a manageable condition and emphasizing the importance of becoming undetectable. It will also send out sassy reminders for you to take your meds.
If you ask a question it cannot answer, it will refer you to a human responder during business hours.
At the moment, the Healthvana platform is not open to everyone. It’s available in 17 states via associated medical providers. These are: Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, and Georgia.
You can find out more details at Healthvana.com.
If you’re not in a state that has access to Healthvana, check out the US government’s HIV portal at www.hiv.gov. It offers a wealth of information on HIV. Sadly, it doesn’t offer a drag queen option as yet.