The year was 2009. The same year the sun was beginning to set on a U.S recession and a previously collapsed U.S. economy began to bounce back. That same year, Kanye (known today as ’Ye’) stunned not only Taylor Swift, but also Beyoncé and a national TV audience after rushing the stage to pronounce ‘Bey’ the rightful winner of ‘Best Female Video’. This was also the same year a little known congressman with a funny name became the 44th president of the United States. This too was the year when the term ‘Netflix and Chill’ hit the mainstream as an innocent act of patronage to the Netflix streaming service founded in 1997.
By 2014, the Affordable Healthcare Act had been signed into law, cellphone devices were fast becoming tools for examining police use of force, a deadly outbreak of Ebola became a global crisis, and Netflix had become king of all streaming platforms. This was also the year the popular ‘Netflix and Chill’ phrase had gone from being a euphemism for ending one’s day with actually binge watching Netflix movies to a more sinister innuendo for hooking up at someone’s home or apartment, making casual ‘hookups’ seem OK.
During this time period, swaGGerscan had just been created to address a quiet STD crisis that no one outside of the medical field dared or cared to speak of publicly. In 2014, it was estimated by the (CDC) Center for Disease Control that there were 20 million new cases each year, and half of those cases were among young people between the ages of 15-24. Some may have believed that by practicing safe sex that they would be absolved from the fear of contracting an STD from the casual ‘chill’ but were sadly mistaken when it was widely known that kissing can also lead to the same result as having sexual intercourse. Years later, a society that was shell shocked by the Covid pandemic, has now grown even more dependent on streaming and chill, and are still taking a blind eye and naive approach to the consequences of high risk activities such as casual sex.
While sexually transmitted diseases have long been a major opponent to public health, it’s time for the public health communities to combine forces. Rather than sound like that overly paranoid parent warning their adolescent child to “strap up because your date may have cooties”, we at swaGGerscan have chosen the route of offering a new and more contemporary alternative – ‘swaGGerscan and Chill’. This new way of approaching your date night plans is mostly predicated on two people who haven’t yet been intimate sharing each other’s health status with one another. Imagining the day when everyone gets wind of this notion, we’ve become extremely optimistic about the future of dating both online and offline.