New York Sex Advice App For Teens Prompts Mixed Reaction

By: CBS News (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
By: CBS News (Posted by Melissa Brunner)

NEW YORK (CBS) A new app providing sexual health advice to teenagers has provoked a range of differing views.

The app, called Teens in New York City Protection +, offers free information on where to get condoms and other birth control and where to find free pregnancy, HIV and STD testing.

The app is funded by New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

CBS 2 New York reports clinics in all five boroughs of New York are listed. The clinics have been reviewed by teenage testers, posing as mystery patients.

"We want to make sure that no teen who's sexually active doesn't know they can go for services to protect themselves and stay healthy," said Health Department Assistant Commissioner Deborah Kaplan.

Kaplan said state law allows minors to obtain all the information without parental consent or knowledge.

"There are some teens who can't or don't feel they can talk to their parents, and yet they are sexually active, and they are at risk of unintended pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases," she said.

The app is the latest effort by the city to lower the number of teenage parents.

The teen pregnancy rate in the city has dropped 30 percent over the past decade. Still, 17,000 teenagers get pregnant every year in New York City.

But not everyone is in favor of the app.

"I'm a big proponent of parental consent," said Frank Russo, president of the American Family Association of New York.

Russo said he approves neither of the app nor of the fact that parents do not have to be consulted.

"It's going to lead to more sexual activity," he said. "I don't think there's any question about that."

High school student Samantha McEvoy said kids already have access to iPhones to download similar apps.

"They might see it and think it's OK," she said.

Others felt the app was a positive service.

"I think it's probably OK," said Elizabeth Kromelow. "I mean, knowledge is power , but you have to do your job at home and talk to you kids."

"If it is to help teenage girls like my own daughter get the health services they need, I think that's perfectly reasonable," Joanna Bush said. "We're all entitled to that."

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