NYC Health+Hospitals promotes sexual health to young adults with emojis

Young New Yorkers will start seeing messages with emojis as NYC Health + Hospitals promotes its sexual and reproductive health services, The New York Times reports.

The emojis include an eggplant and a peach that will appear with the words: "Need to talk to someone about 'it'?" A monkey emoji with its hands over its mouth will offer advice on how to get confidential access to emergency contraception, according to the report. 

New York City's public hospital system is part of a new YouthHealth public awareness campaign aimed at promoting the healthcare services at neighborhood centers most utilized by New Yorkers between the ages of 12 and 21. 

The campaign, which focuses on sexual and reproductive health and will use the hashtag #NYCYouthHealth, features a new youth health services website and an extensive social media component utilizing emojis on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms expected to reach the social news feeds of up to 2.4 million New York City young adults in the next three months.

In 2015 at NYC Health + Hospitals, about 15,000 adolescents were diagnosed with depression, more than 38,000 were tested for sexually transmitted diseases, 30,000 were tested for pregnancy and some 2,400 gave birth, according to the hospital system.

"Under New York State law minors have the right to consent to certain kinds of healthcare on their own," Warren Seigel, MD, chairman of pediatrics and director of adolescent medicine at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island, said in a prepared statement. "This care includes pregnancy tests, STD tests and treatment, mental healthcare and post sexual assault care. Many teens feel that they cannot turn to the adults in their lives for help with these services and it's important that teens know that they can come to us and we will help them."

In addition to the social media campaign and the new website, the YouthHealth campaign includes posters, brochures, wallet-size cards with the website address and ad panels that will be posted in city hospitals, according to NYC Health + Hospitals. Community-based organizations near NYC Health + Hospitals health centers are partnering with the system to distribute the materials.

The goal of the campaign is to increase use of youth health services at NYC Health + Hospitals by 25 percent by the year 2020. 


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