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New York, NY, Sept. 10, 2020 — Today, Planned Parenthood Federation of America celebrates ten years of our successful and innovative Chat/Text program, a national resource that allows young people in need of critical and confidential help to have real-time conversations with trained health educators via text, desktop chat, or mobile chat and get accurate information about their sexual health. Planned Parenthood’s Chat/Textprogram is the largest service of its kind, with users in all 50 states holding roughly 1.5 million conversations through the Chat/Text program since its start in 2010.
Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest provider of sex education, and that doesn’t stop during a pandemic. But the unfortunate reality is that too many young people still face barriers to information about safe sex from a trusted source. Every day, Planned Parenthood works to provide young people with personalized, accurate information — without shame or judgment — because we know that they deserve to take care of their health and build their futures. For ten years, we have been dedicated to meeting patients where they are with the resources they need, and we’ll keep innovating to bring the Chat/Text program to you for the next ten and beyond.”
Planned Parenthood’s Chat/Text program has helped bridge gaps in health care created by the COVID-19 pandemic. In August 2020, educators held 18,446 conversations, reaching people where they are, with personalized information about their sexual and reproductive health, so that they can stay safe and healthy. By offering personalized conversations with real educators in real time, Planned Parenthood’s Chat/Text program has also proven to be an effective resource for young people who don’t have access to sex education. This lack of access to reliable resources may be because of where they live or go to school, or due to other systemic barriers to accessing accurate, compassionate sexual and reproductive health information that is relevant to their experiences.
- A 2018 study was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, showing that Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s national Chat/Text program is just as effective at improving young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health care, whether they had their conversations via text, desktop chat, or mobile chat, and that each mode works across gender and race/ethnicity as well.
- Findings presented at the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting in 2016 found that Planned Parenthood’s Chat/Text program has a significant impact on people’s health behaviors — including increasing health center visits, increasing use of condoms in addition to another method of birth control (“dual use”), and increasing interest in the most effective methods of birth control.
- A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research in 2013 showed that, in its first year, the program was able to successfully reach young people with critical information about sex and health.
- Seventy-nine percent of users are 15-24 years old (the age range for which the program was designed) and 91 percent are under 30 years old. About half of users identify as people of color.
Today’s technology makes it possible to minimize barriers to care and make information available for young people in multiple ways, and Chat/Text is not the only way we are working to revolutionize sexual education and reproductive health care. Planned Parenthood’sunique sexual health chatbot, Roo, is designed to help young people visiting PlannedParenthood.org get personalized health information instantly — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Planned Parenthood’s birth control and period tracker app Spot On helps people track and predict their periods, understand their menstrual cycle, and manage their birth control.
Nicole Levitz, director of digital products at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said, “Right now, when fewer young people are getting sex education in schools and schools across the country are turning to remote learning, it’s important for young people to have reliable, trustworthy online resources they can depend on. Being able to interact with a real person in real time can lower people’s anxiety and guide them to the next best step in taking care of their health. Planned Parenthood is committed to providing accurate, nonjudgmental information to as many young people as possible, wherever they are and whenever they need it most. We’re thrilled to celebrate 10 years of Chat/Text and our incredible educators.” Anyone can chat from the Planned Parenthood website at plannedparenthood.org/chat or text “PPNOW” to 774636 (PPINFO) to get answers about pregnancy, birth control, emergency contraception, STIs, and abortion. We also provide accurate, nonjudgmental information on our Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages, and Planned Parenthood websites in English and Spanish receive more than 100 million visits in a year.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood affiliates serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.