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Have a question about sex? Ask online

September 12, 2011

What do you do if you’re 17 years old and having sex for the first time? Ask your mom how to use a condom? Tell your doctor you need birth control pills?

Young people usually turn to each other for those awkward conversations, and we know how that can turn out.  That’s why Vinita Goyal, a researcher at Women and Infants Hospital is launching a place where teens can ask their questions anonymously, online.

Ask a Doc RI has a big empty box on the right side of its website where anyone can ask a question about “birth control.” Type your question and you’ll get an answer from a Women and Infants doctor within 72 hours  unless you wrote something inappropriate.

Is 72 hours quick enough? I know if I was a young person freaking out about getting pregnant I’d want to know RIGHT AWAY. It’d be great if this website actually had doctors available live, answering via a sort of  text message system. I know I’ve seen this used online in a retail setting. But of course, all those things cost money. I did a test run this morning with a question about birth control pills. Let’s see when I get my answer.

In addition to the website, Goyal plans to do outreach work in Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls and Woonsocket- the cities with the highest teen pregnancy rates in the state- to educate them about birth control.

On a related note… for teens with questions that are more about relationships and less about birth control, there’s hook up with respect-hkupwithrespect.com. Young people can write about their latest love drama and get feedback on whether the way they’re being treated is “cool”, “not cool”, or “not sure.” My friend Kate is behind the project and she’s super enthusiastic about preventing teen dating violence in Rhode Island.

Young people out there-have you used any of these resources? What did you think?

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