Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
USA Today Examines San Francisco Safer Sex Advice Text Messaging Program
USA Today on Monday examined San Francisco's program that sends cell phone text messages to young people seeking advice about HIV/AIDS, pregnancy and other sex- and health-related issues (Kornblum, USA Today, 5/8). The program was launched last month by the San Francisco Department of Public Health and is modeled after a similar campaign in London aimed at youths ages 12 to 24. If a cell phone user sends the text message "sexinfo" to one of two phone numbers set up by the health department, the system will send back a reply asking the user to choose one of several categories that matches his or her question. The program -- which will cost about $2,500 a month -- aims for the text messaging process to take about one to two minutes, and most messages end with the distribution of a phone number that users can call for more information (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/26). "This is a way that [youths] can get quick, easy information confidentially," Jacqueline McCright, community-based sexually transmitted infections services manager at the health department, said, adding that youths "often do not get accurate information from their friends, and many times their parents don't discuss sexual issues with them." Organizers of the program anticipate that other cities will start similar programs, USA Today reports (USA Today, 5/8).
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