Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have changed how we deliver professional development. Read more on our response here.
The widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the availability of the information, healthcare, and support systems young people need to maintain their sexual and reproductive health. At this time, we urge you to remember a few key points:
- Young people can play an important a role in lessening the impact of COVID-19. Young people, themselves, can be harmed by the virus, and young people can spread the virus to others - even if they feel completely healthy. Following key strategies like social distancing and hand-washing are crucial to helping flatten the curve.
- While so much attention is on COVID-19, all people have additional mental and physical health needs at this time, and attending to those needs as best as possible is important for current and future health. Young people still have sexual and reproductive health needs, and the need for some services cannot wait until the virus passes.
- During this time, young people will face additional barriers to getting the services they need. Health services may have reduced availability, health education classes may be cancelled, and community support programs may be unavailable.
The following resources can help young people and their families attain available resources during this time.
Accessing Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare
COVID-19 and Sexual Activity
The NYC Department of Health has created a fact sheet on sex and COVID-19 to learn more about what kinds of sexual contact have higher or lower risk for spreading COVID-19, and how to practice safer sex in social isolation.
Access to Health Centers
Check directly with your healthcare provider to see what services they are offering. Many clinics are prioritizing urgent appointments and delaying non-essential visits to a later time. That doesn't mean that sexual and reproductive health services are inaccessible. Call the clinic directly for any birth control prescription refills. Many clinics will extend these by phone. Most clinics will still schedule urgent appointments, such as testing and treatment for symptomatic STIs. If you have questions about the specific services being offered by a clinic, please call to see what services are available at this time.
Some telehealth providers offer access to birth control, STI testing, and PrEP. These online tools offer mail-order prescriptions and do not require a trip to a health provider. NURX provides contraceptives, STI tests, and PrEP, and is available in North Carolina. Bedsider lists several other options.
Reputable Sex Education Resources
Some young people will miss out on critical health education lessons while schools are closed. Others may simply have routine questions. Being stuck at home offers an opportunity to access reputable sex education resources online, and maybe even have some of those important parent-teen conversations.
Online Resources for Young People
Teen Playbook - North Carolina-specific information on sexual health, your rights, and how to access healthcare.
Bedsider - Sexual health information for young adults.
Amaze - Animated videos designed to help tweens and teens take the awkward out of sex ed.
CAF - Information on time-sensitive abortion access during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Online Resources for Parents
Any of the above resources can be used by teens and parents alike, or even together! The following are designed to help parents talk directly about sexual health:
Prepared Parent - North Carolina-specific information to guide conversations between parents and younger teens.
Amaze Parent - Parent conversation tips and video companion guides for Amaze.
Amaze Jr. Parent - Parent guides for talking to children ages 4-9.
Resources for LGBTQ+ Young People and Allies
The Trevor Project - Crisis help now via text or chat.
TransLifeLine - A trans-led organization that offers peer support and crisis help.
Understanding The Need
Implications of COVID-19 for LGBTQ Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention - A good, research-based overview on the additional risks of social isolation and threats to protective factors against youth suicide during the pandemic.
The following organizations are hosting virtual networking, informational, and social events throughout the pandemic. Check their websites and/or social media pages for upcoming opportunities.