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TEXT, EMAIL SERVICES AVAILABLE FOR TEENS WITH SEXUAL HEALTH QUESTIONS

A new resource was recently launched for teens in the region with questions about sexual health. It’s the BrdzNBz NE Florida text message system.

BrdsNBz NE Florida gives confidential, medically-accurate answers to sexual health questions via text message for teens 12-18 years old Baker, Duval, Nassau, Clay and St. Johns counties. The service is anonymous, provides real-time responses and it’s free, though standard text message rates may apply.

A similar resource from Healthy Baker, Inc. is available online at the non profit’s Oustpoken website called Ask Aunt Cathy. It’s been available for more than a year. Teens can submit any health-related question by filling out the online form and receive a response from a public health professional by e-mail.

To use the BrdzNBz NE Florida service, teens can text NEFLTeen to 66746 to opt-in to the service and then submit their question. Health educators with more than 40 years of combined public health experience respond to questions within 24 hours.

Question topics submitted to the text line include sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, sex, relationships and contraception. Teens can ask follow-up questions and receive referrals to local resources.

The service is provided through a public-private partnership between the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina (APPCNC) and Houston-based OneSeventeen Media. It originally launched in North Carolina in 2009 and has since expanded to South Carolina, Texas, Maryland and now Florida.

BrdsNBz was identified as a best practice by the NEFL Teen Pregnancy Task Force. Bringing a similar text message program to the region was an implementation strategy in the Task Force’s Community Action Plan. The Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition launched the local program in January through a Competitive Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services – Administration for Children and Families.

For more information on BrdzNBz NE Florida, please contact Erin Petrie at epetrie@nefhsc.org.

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