Talking about sex can be difficult. Adolescents in Mexico, and around the world, are seeking out confidential, accurate reproductive health information as they navigate sexual relationships for the first time. A new mobile app, called the OrientaSex platform, launched on November 25, 2021, in Mexico to deliver on a tremendous unmet need for teens.
“I can tell you why I am so supportive of this project, and why I know it will be successful,” says Bill Ryerson, the President of Population Media Center (PMC), an entertainment nonprofit that has worked on teen pregnancy around the world and is a supporting partner of the OrientaSex platform. “For more than 20 years, PMC has collaborated with like-minded organizations to amplify our impact, working alongside partners like OrientaSex. We give our audiences the information and agency to connect with service providers. This service is confidential, accurate, accessible, and understandable. It will deliver measurable, meaningful change.”
PMC has worked on teen pregnancy around the world. In Mexico, PMC worked with Televisa to create Vencer el Miedo (“Overcome the Fear”), a show designed to encourage healthier behaviors and attitudes about reproductive health. The overarching goal of the program was to increase contraceptive use among adolescents in Mexico and reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies.
The show aired weekdays in Mexico beginning January 20, 2020, and garnered the highest viewership numbers of any show in its time slot, with an average of 3.5 million nightly viewers. The show also ranked among the top three most-watched programs for viewers ages 13-21.
At the end of each show, the phone number for another of OrientaSex’s services – a telephone hotline, operated by professional counselors from Mexico’s Planned Parenthood affiliate – was displayed with an invitation for viewers to call in with questions. The hotline was more popular than anticipated, receiving a weekly average of 2,868 calls.
Young adult viewers of PMC’s show were 1.8 times more likely than non-viewers to have used dual contraception to prevent unintended pregnancies and STDs, and they were 1.6 times more likely to have searched for information on contraception.
“We all know Mexico has made impressive strides in addressing teen pregnancy since the 1970s,” said Ryerson at the November 25 launch for the OrientaSex platform, “and yet one out of every five pregnant women in Mexico was 19 years old or younger between 2009-2014. That’s 20% of all pregnancies. We still have work to do.”
This new platform provides adolescents numerous types of content that are designed to engage and inform. It’s developed with the audience – adolescents – in mind. Some of PMC’s hit entertainment shows are part of that featured content.
“The app is fun and informative,” says Ryerson. “It’s personal. It’s filled with lots of different types of stories told by different types of people. And, very importantly, the impact of the app is measurable. I’m proud to have PMC partner with OrientaSex in yet another important effort to eliminate unwanted teen pregnancy in Mexico.”
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