BrdsNBz: New Mexico teens can text sex questions to hotline
September 20, 2013 -- Updated 1641 GMT (0041 HKT)
New Mexico teens can text questions about sexual health to the "BrdsNBz" service launched this month.
- The service is available in Spanish and English
- It lets New Mexico teens text sexual health questions anytime
- Within 24 hours, a response comes in the form of a text
- Teen birth rates in the U.S. are at historic lows, but are higher than other Western countries
(CNN) -- It's like sexting, but with benefits.
New Mexico teens have an alternative to their parents when it comes to sexual health questions. And it comes in a form they're familiar with: text messaging.
Appropriately named "BrdsNBz, the service launched this month allows teens to text sexual health questions to a hotline. Within 24 hours, a health expert will text back a private, nonjudgmental response.
"Talking about the birds and the bees -- sexual health -- is almost always awkward for parents, teens and sometimes both of us," state health officials say.
The service, available in Spanish and English, targets teens between ages 13 and 19.
Is there a different standard for girls online?
New Mexico is among the top three nationally in teen birth rates, said Valerie Fisher with the state health department.
"I have an 11-year-old. I try to explain things to him, and he's like, 'Mommmm, stop!' so I understand," Fisher said. "This is a great tool. It educates teens, they learn some things maybe they didn't know and it even helps them ask their parents better questions."
Although teenage pregnancy rates in the U.S. are at historic lows, they are substantially higher than other Western countries.
"Teen birth rates fell at least 15% for all but two states during 2007--2011— the most recent period of sustained decline," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
The pregnancy rate for girls ages 15-19 dropped to 31.3 per 1,000 in 2011, a record low for the United States.
But experts say the drop does not mean the issue is no longer a priority.
Other states offer similar services for teens.
North Carolina launched a BrdsNBz program in 2009. California has its own service, HookUp 365247, which is loosely based on the same concept. It provides teens who text the number with weekly sexual health tips and the nearest reproductive health clinics.
In New Mexico, parents can text their questions as well.
Messaging app aims to be safer Snapchat
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 1246 GMT (2046 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT)
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.