was four years ago when Lora Ivanova and Ursula Hessenflow were
talking at a Los Angeles café about the L.A. dating scene. The
biggest aggravation they had was the ability to talk about safe sex
when first meeting someone. How could one deal with the discomfort of
asking someone they just met if they were tested for STDs?
to 39-year-old Ivanova, it’s not easy to talk about STDs if a
person isn’t getting tested. This is very true for women who grew
up under the impression that having more than one sex partner was a
bad thing. Imagine if this stigma could be taken away with the help
of an at-home kit.
is why the myLAB box was developed.
competitors offer kits for an array of health conditions along with
STDs, myLAB is a dedicated sexual health kit. The kit can be
purchased on the company’s website as well as Amazon, Target and
Wal-Mart. If purchased online, the kit arrives in an unmarked
are designed for the more common sexually transmitted diseases such
as chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes and HIV, with a starting cost
of $79. How do these kits work? You send back a sample of your blood,
urine or genital swab and attain results within five days. If your
results are positive, you’ll receive a call from an STD counselor
about the different options and get the medication you need.
said the idea was to provide a solution that ensured immediate
Ivanova’s more difficult task was making it affordable like a flu
of Ivanova’s younger years were spent outside in her Sofia,
Bulgaria neighborhood. She said she wanted to accomplish two things –
become an astronaut and a smoker. Ivanova recently gave up the
smoking habit, and never became an astronaut.
actually got a full scholarship to St. Louis’ National University
where she majored in both business and theater. She said she bought
into the notion of corporate success, and upon graduating, moved to
L.A. to begin working at Newegg.com. She also worked with the
National Football League and Mindshare LA. Still, Ivanova said
something was still amiss.
said she wanted to be an artist but loved the business world, and she
wanted to find a way to make the two coexist. It wasn’t too long
before she discovered there was a need for STD testing in the home.
She knew that was her ticket to a successful career and creativity.
said money doesn’t measure personal worth but agrees her kit is
helping people, which is what she wanted to do.
To Choose Who They Will Infect
need for at-home testing kits has increased significantly. In just
four years (2013 to 2017), the number of U.S. syphilis cases has
doubled with a 67 percent increase in gonorrhea cases and chlamydia
cases are extremely high too. Despite these numbers, Americans are
still not getting tested.
funding for the myLAB box was fairly low in the beginning, but just
recently they were able to secure $1.5 million. This money will now
let them include more services such as cervical cancer screenings.
Nearly 79 million Americans have the HPV virus, and while some clear
up on their own, other strains can lead to cancer. This is why it’s
so important to get tested regularly.
treating people quicker using at-home testing is difficult,
especially when dealing with HPV. Washington University Assistant
Professor of Medicine Dr. Hilary Reno said there are around 30 kinds
of HPV – some being precursors of cancer. She said any woman – 30
and older – with a positive HPV test needs to see their doctor.
said she’s concerned that the myLAB box kit is still too expensive
for the group who needs it most. She said lower socioeconomic status
groups cannot pay for the test, although some insurance plans do
provide reimbursement for these kits.
said the focus needs to be on an answer that everybody can use, and
she realizes that sexually transmitted infections are a problem for
myLAB box provides even more affordable, comprehensive testing
options for people to choose from. Ivanova said it’s nice to see
other companies providing similar such as the myLAB box. She said
it’s an indication that the industry is sitting up and taking
notice while also offering the service.
believes the myLAB box will succeed with Ivanova being the driving
force. She said Ivanova is one of the most stubborn people she knows
and will make anything she has planned come to fruition.
Ivanova, her goal is to improve people’s chances of being seen by a
doctor and improving their health state. She said there are two
things she wants – to ensure everybody has the same level of care
and it’s easier to talk with new partners about safe sex.