Telehealth Start-up Caters to Queer & Trans Healthcare Needs
Launched in December 2020, new US-based digital health platform Folx provides medical care for queer, gender-non-conforming and transgender consumers – who are historically underserved by mainstream healthcare.
Folx operates as a telehealth platform, connecting queer and trans patients to LGBTQ+-friendly clinicians for online medical consultations. It provides a vital service to consumers who are often alienated from mainstream medicine owing to prejudice, lack of sensitivity, and a scarcity of LGBTQ+-specific clinics.
Through Folx, users can access home-delivery hormone replacement therapy (HRT) prescriptions, starting at $59/month. The subscription model offers reassuring continuity to patients whose mental and physical health can quickly deteriorate if access to gender-affirming treatment is delayed. Folx currently operates in 12 states, but hopes to use the $25m funding it raised in February to expand its services into all 50 states.
The platform also plans to widen its product offering to include erectile dysfunction (ED) treatment, at-home STI testing kits designed for queer and trans bodies, skin and hair supplements, and PrEP medication to boost its focus on sexual wellness.
January 2021 saw the launch of Folx Library, a free resource that offers guides and support across topics such as HRT injecting techniques, physical changes during HRT, sexual health and pleasure. And to coincide with Valentine’s weekend this year, Folx debuted 1-888-Folx-Fam – a hotline featuring words of support from LGBTQ+ community leaders, activists, artists and influencers.
The hotline offers an escape from screen-based interaction, and aims to provide a sense of community and comfort when people are feeling alone. Some contributors wrote love letters to their younger selves for the hotline, to inspire and express solidarity with callers in need of support.
Start-ups like Folx ensure that marginalised consumers do not get left behind as the healthcare industry experiences a digital overhaul. For more on this, as well as the importance of trans allyship, see Healthcare’s High-Tech Future and The Brief.