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Reproductive rights is a hot-button topic for much of the political spectrum in the U.S. Against that backdrop. TBD Health is not-so-quietly making patient-focused and inclusive sexual healthcare available and accessible to everyone in the U.S., as it raises a $4.4 million round to scale up further.
“At a time when women’s rights are being challenged by our government, it was critical for us to build a sex-positive healthcare company that makes it easy for people to prioritize their health,” said Daphne Chen, co-founder and co-CEO of TBD Health in an interview with TechCrunch. “As someone who has experienced firsthand the judgment that doctors and clinicians pass when it comes to sexual health, it’s our mission to create a safe space for people to seek inclusive, trauma-aware care, as well as treatment and resources on their own terms, regardless of where they live.”
The company is extending operations in the context of a huge amount of change. At one end of the scale, people are more likely to have non-traditional relationships where multiple sexual partners are a thing, and sexual safety and testing remains important. At the other extreme, a huge swathe of the U.S. has woefully lacking sex ed and access to sexual health clinics. The CDC reports that 20% of people in the U.S. have an STI, and that young people are not as good at preventing them as perhaps they ought to be.
TBD Health is pushing a new line of services it refers to as digital sexual health.
“We have a couple of services that are available today. One of which is our at-home STI testing, which we’re really excited about because it’s a protocol that allows you to manage your sexual health from the comfort and privacy of home,” says Chen. “What that looks like is we’re able to send you a kit that’s customized to your specific needs and your risk profile to your home, you’re able to self-collect your samples (urine, blood as well as any swab samples that might be needed), which then gets shipped to our partner lab and you get your results in just a few days. All results are reviewed by our clinical team and a customized care plan is created just for you. And we’re also really excited about the fact that your relationship with TBD doesn’t end after your test result comes back. We are creating an ongoing relationship, and we’re doing a lot of follow-up. We really believe that as your sex life changes your sexual health care needs do too. And so we want to stay on top of that and make sure that we’re able to serve you no matter where you are in your sexual health journey.”
We spoke with the company a year ago, when it was just starting to gather speed with its at-home services, in addition to its in-person clinic in Las Vegas. Today, the company told TechCrunch it has raised a $4.4 million round of investment from Tusk Venture Partners, with participation from Springdale Ventures, Human Ventures, Expansion VC, Starbloom Capital, Hyphen Capital and The Community Fund.
“More and more we’re seeing local sexual health clinics nationwide shuttering due to lack of funding and resources. This leaves an immense strain on those who urgently need care,” said Stephanie Estey, co-founder and co-CEO of TBD Health. “We seek to be a solution for those living in sexual health care deserts and beyond by offering a more accessible and approachable way to taking care of your sexual health.”
Of course all eyes are on Roe v. Wade’s impact on delivery and access to sexual health services.
“Since Roe v. Wade was overturned last year, it’s critical people must have accessible options to reproductive and sexual healthcare,” said Bradley Tusk, managing partner at Tusk Venture Partners in a statement provided by TBD. “We are proud to back TBD Health as they establish new standards for care through its STD testing kits, availability of emergency contraceptives with next-day shipping nationwide, and an in-person care hub in Las Vegas.”
The company has invested a lot into ensuring its services are trauma-informed and radically inclusive, which means that its clinicians are able to meet complex sexual health situations with understanding and kindness.
“The true differentiator of TBD is the care that comes along with the experience. All of our clinicians are trained in sex positivity, they have sensitivity training, and they are trauma-aware. And so with TBD, you are not just getting a test result. You’re getting a partner. So what does that actually look like?” Estey asks rhetorically. “That looks like counseling. That looks like making sure you have the next steps. That looks like making sure that you have resources to think about an STI result both for yourself as well as your partners. We really walk you through the entire process. That is dramatically lacking in healthcare today, which feels very transactional. TBD is all about putting the human and compassionate approach back into the experience and making sure that people feel empowered to take ownership of their sexual healthcare.”
You can learn more about TBD on its website.