Sacha, the first conversational artificial intelligence in sexual health

HF Prévention, a national health prevention association, announced at the end of March that it had created the first conversational artificial intelligence dedicated to sexual health, with the support of the Gilead Sciences laboratory, which specializes in HIV screening. The virtual advisor Sacha is based on multidisciplinary expertise in sexual health and integrates, for the first time, the consideration of emotions. The user can ask him questions anonymously without shame or taboo, the AI ​​directs him, if necessary, towards health structures and competent organizations.

Promote access to information

According to the national public health agency France, the Covid-19 pandemic and containment have reduced screening for STDs (or STIs) and HIV by 22% in 2020 compared to 2019. However, it states that in 2020, more than 124,000 infections due to Chlamydia trachomatis, 2,500 cases of syphilis and 4,856 of HIV have been recorded.

Preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is a public health issue, as is treating them. Sexuality is still a taboo subject. For most of us, it is not easy to talk about it with those around us, this is especially true for teenagers. The Internet and social networks thus become the priority source of information, although unreliable.

SACHA, IA trusted source of information.

HF Prévention, a national association for health prevention, carries out information actions concerning chronic diseases, long-term conditions (diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, etc.), but also concerning the prevention of contamination of STIs, HIV and hepatitis.

For more than four years, its teams, surrounded by experts, worked to create the Sacha AI, which they trained using the recordings of around 100,000 interviews with health professionals.

Jérôme André, Director of HF Prevention, says:

“The idea was to be able to have a conversation that was as fluid as possible and that was closest to a human being. To be the most relevant in our advice and our support both through empathy and the quality of the information provided. Teach Sacha to identify the emotions of users to detect obstacles, to be able to encourage people to open up and free themselves anonymously. SACHA was developed in response to two current issues. The first is the difficulty for a large number of people to find who to contact when they have questions about their sexual health. The second is to dare to take the plunge for these same people and that they are not blocked by feelings of doubt or shame when they approach these subjects. SACHA responds by offering a source of information that is always available and reliable. »

He adds :

“HF Prevention has become over time an expert in prevention, particularly in sexual health. The association had designed the 1st Sexual Health Application in France “TUP Find a Condom and a Testing Place in France” and the 2nd Game Changer in the world “Virus Wars” which received the 1st International Prize for Innovation from the UNESCO Sexual Health and Human Rights Chair. We wanted to go further in innovation by exploiting the resources of Artificial Intelligence. »

An AI that adapts to emotions

The user launches the application, asks his question and the AI ​​answers him by taking into account his language, his emotions, assesses the risks, guides him in his decision-making and can direct him to health structures and competent bodies.

Aurélien Serra, Technical Lead at Prodigious, the production agency that designed and developed the app, says:

“Sacha implements the best of artificial intelligence and human and scientific intelligence in the service of the sexual health of the greatest number. Sacha is able to conduct “multi-turn” conversations in natural language in text and voice format thanks to Google’s advanced conversational AI pushed to its maximum: Sacha is able to detect certain emotions in his interlocutor to always bring more relevance and will adapt and diversify its discourse for an experience ever closer to the conversation between human beings… At the technical architecture level, Sacha’s engine was designed in complete decoupling with the interfaces that provide access to its knowledge. »

The app was launched this year and had 12,000 users at the end of March. It is available free of charge on the Apple App Store for IOS, on Google Play for Android, but also from Google Home speakers for voice control.

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Sacha, the first conversational artificial intelligence in sexual health

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