Some decisions are easy to make (the choice between a wad of cash and a few pennies, for example), but some are too difficult to make without a little guidance — such as the form of birth control that's best for you.
That's the premise behind a new iPhone app, Tia, that aims to be like a personal assistant for anyone who has questions about birth control and sexual health.
Tia is "for millennial women by millennial women," and run both by a bot and by human sexual health educators.
The women behind Tia hope this app can help bridge a gap in access to reliable information about sex and contraception.
"All too often, women are making healthcare decisions — about birth control, sex, pregnancy, and beyond — from a place of fear, anxiety, and shame," Tia co-founder Carolyn Witte tells Refinery29. "At a time when women’s control over their own healthcare decisions faces so many threats, we believe that low-friction, tech-based solutions like Tia can bridge access gaps in health information, empowering women with the information they need to navigate the increasingly complex world of healthcare with confidence.”
Those who use the app can privately and anonymously message any question about birth control or sexual health. If the question is something the bot knows the answer to, the machine will answer. But if the bot doesn't know the information, it will call on one of its "wing women," the human sexual health educators who work on the app.
These wing women are online every day of the week from 8am to 11pm pacific time, but since it is a human responding to the question, there may be some delay in getting an answer, according to the app's FAQs page.
In addition to being a go-to source for sexual health or birth control confusion, Tia will also remind you when it's time to take your pill, connect you with doctors who take your insurance, and track your menstrual cycle.
"She’s your go-to for all those 'ugh!' 'oops' and 'huh?' moments," according to a statement shared with Refinery29.
We'd understand if you were a little wary to depend on an app for birth control information, so rest assured that Tia was developed with the help of two real doctors — Aparna Sridhar, MD/MPH, a practicing ob-gyn and Sally Rafie, PharmD, a pharmacist specialist. Both women were key in developing the app's birth control recommendation algorithm. That being said, it's always worth checking in with your doctor in person for face-to-face interaction if you can.
Unfortunately for Android users, the app is only available on iPhone right now, though the company does plan to expand to Android in the near future. It's a free download, available through iTunes.
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