After choosing the category, a brief text message is then sent to their phone giving general advice about their issue and directing them to local clinics or phone numbers for more support.
For example, in reply to the message ""if someone's hurting u." SexInfo sends the following message: "no matter if it's ur b-friend g-friend uncle neighbor, u don't deserve 2B hurt or touched how u don't want 24/7 sexual abuse resource center 206-8386."
This program began as a response to the rising rates of sexually transmitted diseases among African American San Francisco youths, says Jacque McCright, community based STD services manager at the San Francisco Department of Health. "This was a way to reach out to adolescents in school and outside of school," she says.
Noting that teens often use cells phones for text messaging more than actual phone conversations, McCright hopes that SexInfo will give teens a safe, confidential forum for asking questions. "Text messaging allows them to communicate even when they're not supposed to," she says.
Globally, the SexInfo program can be reached by sending the text message "sexinfo" to 61827 or at http://www.sextextsf.org.