Denver Post (12.15.11) - Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains has taken over a
Denver-based text messaging service that provides sexual
health information to teens. "In Case You're Curious" (ICYC)
is an offshoot of the Denver Teen Pregnancy Prevention
Partnership, which began in Denver Public Schools in 2007.
Under the service, teens text "ICYC" to 66746. After receiving
a confirmation, youths can then submit anonymous questions,
which are answered within 24 hours by Planned Parenthood
staffers. Responses are limited to 160 characters; agency
staff often direct questioners to seek further advice from
health and medical professionals.
"Our goal is to arm youth with medically accurate, age-
appropriate information about what might be going on with
their bodies," said Alison Macklin, Planned Parenthood's
director of community education. "We'd rather have them have
access to that information than wondering or relying on common
myths, like 'It's better to use two condoms rather than one,'
when the reality is that doing so will actually increase the
risk for an unplanned pregnancy or [an STD]."
"We always encourage youth to have conversations with their
parents, but we also recognize that not everyone has that
ability," said Macklin. "We're not trying to take the place of
those conversations, of them providing firsthand knowledge,
but rather we're providing a way to help answer questions."
Since assuming the service last year, Planned Parenthood has
received some 500 inquiries. Macklin said the aim is to double
that total next year. ICYC runs through 2012.