SANTA FE (KRQE) - A new state program is trying to bring teaching the birds and bees into the 21st century.
The New Mexico Department of Health has launched BrdsNBz, a free and anonymous statewide text hotline designed to answer sex questions from teens and their parents.
"[Texting] is a teen's means of communication nowadays," said Valerie Fischer with the NM Department of Health. "So we felt this was a really good way to reach them in any part of the state."
With BrdsNBz, teens can text questions about sex, relationships and sexual health to a 5-digit number and have them answered within 24 hours by a health educator. Questions about sexual technique won't be answered. Answers typically come in about six to eight hours.
"They can access accurate information from somebody without that anxiety of having that face to face interaction," Fischer said.
To test BrdsNBz, News 13 had the following text exchange with the service:
Question: Can I get pregnant the first time?
Answer: Hello. Thank you for the question. Yes - you can absolutely get pregnant the first time. Any time a man and a woman have intercourse, pregnancy is possible (of course, the chance of pregnancy is greatly reduced if you are using an effective method of birth control).
Other answers to questions mentioned abstinence as an option as well.
Parents are also encouraged to text questions about how to talk to and teach their kids about sex.
Fischer says BrdsNBz could be a useful tool to help cut down on New Mexico's high teen birth rates as well as STD's.
New Mexico is the second state to implement BrdsNBz statewide. Fischer says it's being paid for with a $65,000 federal grant.
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