Toronto Startup Eve Medical Is Giving HPV Home Tests To Trans Men
HPV or the human papillomavirus, is the most common sexually transmitted infection in North America. The infection, that affects women and trans men (people born with vaginas), is often diagnosed during a pap smear. However, many women forego the pap smear because it’s extremely uncomfortable.
Canadian Health Guidelines as well as the CDC, recommend that all women between the ages of 25-69 have a cervical exam every three years. That exam includes a pap smear. They recommend women that are sexually active have the exams every three years starting when they first become sexually active.
Jessica Ching, a former student at OCAD, remembers having conversations with her girlfriends discussing the cervical examination and how uncomfortable and awkward it was. Like many women, Ching’s friends just didn’t get them done.
“They just decided not to do anything about it because it was uncomfortable,” she told NowToronto.com.
Ching went to work to create a better way to preliminarily screen for HPV. Through her company Eve Medical, she created the Eve Kit, an at home test that screens for HPV. She admits that her startup’s test isn’t as thorough as a full examination. The full examination looks for abnormal cells while the Eve Kit test looks specifically for the virus. If someone uses the Eve Kit and tests positive they need to get to a doctor for treatment.
The Eve Kit can be ordered online for $110. If you want to test for chlamydia and gonorrhea the kit will cost just $175. The kit contains a vaginal collection device, a transport bag, and prepaid shipping box for mailing the sample to the lab. After the patient completes the test they just put it into the bag and shipping box and drop it into the mail. The lab results can be accessed through a secure web portal.
HPV can lead to cervical cancer, but not everyone with HPV is going to get cervical cancer, especially if treated early.
“If your HPV test comes back positive, it doesn’t mean you have cervical cancer, but it means you have an infection that could lead to cervical cancer,” Ching explains. “We recommend that you follow up with a pap test to make sure there aren’t any other abnormalities.”
The Eve Kit is great for ladies that don’t want to go have a cervical exam. However Ching was also concerned with people who identify as trans, non-binary or gender non-conforming. Those folks are less likely to get screened, and that was a concern to the Eve Medical team. During the development process Ching reached out to 519 an LGBTQ advocacy group in Toronto.
“Trans men need this too. Just the experience of going to a doctor’s office and saying, ‘I need a pap,’ and having that person look at you and wanting an explanation, that’s enough to stop them from going,” she says.
With that in mind they’ve teamed up with 519 to give Eve Kits away to Trans Men so that they too can get tested. They’ve donated kits to trans men and have also made it possible for people to by kits at a discounted rate to be given away to trans men, non-binary and gender non conformists.
You can check out Eve Kit here.