New App Helps Teens in New York Seek Health Services

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New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMD) recently released a new smartphone app, intended to help teens locate clinics and gain access to health information.

 The free application, Teens in NYC Protection+, provides youth with both pedestrian and subway directions to nearby healthcare providers and facilities. The app also allows users in all five boroughs to stream videos about sexual health education, with information regarding birth control methods and what to expect at clinic visits.

The clinics included in the app were all screened by adolescents, with clinics providing free services receiving “gold star” rankings. The app lets users screen potential services by numerous categories, including location, provider and type of birth control; among others, the clinics listed may provide emergency contraception, HIV testing or counseling services for young treatment seekers.

New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley told the New York Daily News that since most teenagers are uncomfortable discussing sexual health issues with their parents, the application can be a useful aid for teens that may not receive services otherwise.

“With this app,” he said, “we’re speaking their language.”