FIRST THOUGHT: A Scary Health Crisis
Does talking about sex make you uncomfortable? If you answered yes, then get out your giggles or gawkiness: Let’s break down the myths about the birds and the bees that we heard in the back of the bus. I remember being younger and believing pop culture’s portrayal of sex, like that things always get steamy (literally), that lingerie and a bikini wax are a must for sexy time, that every woman wants to be in love first, and that women should feel shy about saying no—even to our longtime partners. What are some other myths we need to bust before we smash?
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 4.7 Percent
When we refuse to discuss sex, we also hide a real health crisis: STDs and STIs. Though Hannah from GIRLS claimed that all adventurous girls have HPV, this stuff needs to be taken seriously, whether you’re 18 or 88. Did you know from 2015 to 2016, chlamydia increased by 4.7 percent in the United States? Rates of this particular STD are highest amongst young females. When you consider that as many as 3 million Americans get chlamydia every year through any kind of sexual contact, the disease is something to talk about. It often doesn’t present any symptoms, but once you’re diagnosed, it can be cleared up with antibiotics, which makes being in the know especially important.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Lora Ivanova, Co-founder and CEO of myLAB Box
If left untreated, many STDs spiral to something much more serious. It’s pretty apparent why this spiral would happen due to lack of accessibility and affordability to healthcare, as well as the shame that surrounds the disease. We women are particularly prone to staying mum about our concerns when sitting in our backless gown on the cold exam table in our doctor’s office. Today’s Woman to Watch, Lora Ivanova, addressed this harrowing health statistic by co-founding myLAB Box.
While talking candidly with her girlfriends about dating and sex (particularly about how you approach the whole STD conversation with your partner), Lora thought there must be a simpler way to tackle such an awkward convo. She began to wonder why there wasn’t an online service that gave accurate STD results. After all, you can order just about anything from the web, right?
MyLAB Box is the answer. Customers can purchase the lab-certified at-home vaginal swab test without a prescription and receive their test results in less than a week. You’re also able to consult with a physician on the phone to discuss your results and further needs.
Lora wasn’t always an entrepreneur. From kicking butt at a visual effects company to a tech-focused e-retailer, her career was steeped in PR. She’s had to sacrifice plenty to learn the ropes of healthcare, but her skills in getting the word out there have undoubtedly helped to disrupt the sexual health industry.
Nearly a quarter of Lora’s investors are women, which is a big deal for the male-dominated VC world. She and her team were selected by Morgan Stanley as one of only 10 companies to participate in an innovation lab for underrepresented founders. Lora believes sexual health is a women’s issue; We can’t let fear or men be in charge of our health and future anymore. The more we know, the more power we have.
Lora has dug her feet into more than just one entrepreneurial role; She may be a sexual health pioneer but she’s also a Halloween enthusiast. Lora also started ScareLA, the first fan convention devoted to Halloween, which includes workshops, screenings and attractions in about 200,000 square feet. Lora credits her post-Halloween blues for creating the big-time event of the year.
Lora wants to keep the fright where it belongs: on October 31 instead of in your health records. Don’t stay in the dark anymore. We promise facing the facts isn’t as scary as hiding from them in the first place.
Follow Lora on Twitter @genieeffect.
Going to the lab for doctor visits can be tedious, especially when you work a full-time job. Check out the six benefits of testing in the comfort of your own home by clicking here or, if you’re listening via podcast, head over to OnTheDotWoman.com!
QUITE THE QUOTE
Let’s hear from the magical disrupter herself, Lora Ivanova:
"...I have learned that the most important thing is having the strength to persevere despite disappointments, difficulties, or exhaustion. And amidst all that to find the place within yourself that keeps you open and creating with love."