Lets be honest who wants to make an appointment with their GP to chat about what could be a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
And for many people living in rural and regional Australia that was their only option to seek treatment.
Now a pair of Hunter rugby enthusiasts James Sneddon and Michell Tanner, have joined forces to tackle the taboo subject of STIs through the adoption of telehealth.
Mr Sneddon and Dr Tanner are co-founders of Stigma Health , a telehealth service solely focused on increasing access to STI testing across Australia. Stigma Health is already Australia's largest sexual health clinic group, delivering STI testing to over 30,000 people, through an online, discreet, convenient sexual health service.
Together they identified sexual health as an underserved niche. Dr Tanner said he saw the community benefit, having seen first-hand the devastating effect of untreated STIs in his patients over the last decade.
It's recognised by the WHO as fundamental to overall health. In Australia there were around 800,000 tests conducted per year however based on the guidelines, 8 million people between 18-29 should be tested annually - ten times what was actually being done.
Cost, convenience and fear of medical staff attitudes were all well documented reasons why young people weren't getting tested, yet no one was doing anything to change it, he said.
Cost, convenience and fear of medical staff attitudes were all well documented reasons why young people weren't getting tested- Mitchell Tanner
"Stigma Health broke down all of those barriers to increase the testing rate to improve Australia's sexual and overall health."
Dr Tanner grew up in Singleton and always intended to return to work and live in his hometown. As a father of two who coaches Singleton Rugby Bulls, he's a passionate member of the local community. As a local doctor, he cares for many in the community, including those he knew before he started his medical career.
An accountant by trade, James who now lives in Maitland, began his first business in hospitality at the age of 24. In 2014, everyone was transforming offline businesses to create the "uber effect" and one area that James said he identified as not really having taken full advantage of this was health.
"After a frustratingly long wait for a doctor appointment that was running two hours late, I became convinced there had to be a better way to approach health for those routine, basic appointment types such as scripts, referrals, pathology," he said. "The thought of how many people potentially weren't accessing healthcare because of the inaccessibility was a driving factor for what came next."
When Mr Sneddon's former rugby coach Michael Dan introduced him to Dr Tanner after asking whether he knew of any entrepreneurial GPs, the seeds were sown for the makings of a healthcare service that was ahead of the telehealth curve.
It turned out James and Mitchell actually played against each other - Mitchell for Singleton and James for Maitland. Despite the fierce rugby rivalry, the teams have really embraced the importance of talking about the taboo subject, even dubbing it "The Sexual Health Round" when the two teams meet, they said. When the pair got talking about the issues facing GPs Mitchell said that the shortage of doctors was playing a big part in the accessibility issue. "If we could bring a service to market that took pressure off the system and enabled people to access simple healthcare solutions quickly, they were on to a great community benefit," he said.
In 2015, Stigma Health was incorporated. By 2016, the team had referred their first patient for testing. Today, 30,000 patients have come through the service nationwide, making them the largest online sexual health clinic group in Australia. In the past three months they have more than tripled the number of doctors available through the online clinic and as well as announcing free testing nationwide through their bulk-bill offering.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.