Super Bowl-themed medtech?

With Valentine’s Day just behind us, there’s a particular health condition on my mind.

No, it’s not heart disease. 

The condition—or category of conditions, rather—I’m thinking of are sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

STIs are taboo—and that taboo can make them feel trivial.

Some of our most important tools for fighting that stigma are education and preventive health. It’s important to keep reminding the public that many STIs are both very avoidable and treatable—there’s no shame in it.

At the same time, we can’t afford to downplay the dangers of some sexually-transmitted infections. HIV still kills people in many places around the world.

So, when it comes to how we message about STIs, we face a difficult balance to strike. On one hand, we must ensure the public knows how harmful STIs can be. On the other hand, we must also avoid further stigmatizing the topic. Instilling patients with fear can make many too afraid to ask questions, get tested, and get treated.

And the cycle goes on.

As with many challenging public health issues, I know medtech can play a powerful role

When it comes to STI prevention and treatment, innovative medtech approaches both give patients more options—and keep the conversation going by bringing attention to this stigmatized issue.

This is why I was inspired by Daye’s tampon-based STI test, which we discussed in December. It’s also why I’m excited to read about a vending machine initiative in the UK. That’s right, vending machines can distribute snacks and STI tests. What a promising way to reach more patients!

Chart: MedTech Pulse
Chart: MedTech Pulse

I’m endlessly encouraged by our industry’s refusal to brush challenging topics and taboos under the rug. When it comes to preventive health, we can’t afford to leave valuable health information to school hallway whispers and lonely corners of the internet. 

Let’s fight for a healthier society, ridding ourselves of one health stigma at a time.

And while we’re at it—if it has been a while since your last appointment—I encourage you to get yourself tested! 

Hadi Saleh

Hadi’s Reflections

Dr. Hadi Saleh is CEO of CeramTec, a leading provider of advanced ceramics for medical applications. He is driven by the idea of embracing technology for the benefit of human life.


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