UN ranks Queen's contraception awareness program among the world's top five
October 6, 2005
(Kingston, ON) – A popular web site on contraception and sexual health spearheaded by Queen’s University researchers is ranked among the world’s five top e-health sites in a new United Nations competition.
The interactive bilingual web site, called “sexualityandu.ca”, attracts an average of 5,000 hits per day, and reached an all-time monthly high in September with 172,843 visits. It targets adolescents, adults, parents, teachers, and health providers with information and answers to submitted questions about contraception, safer sex practices, and sexual well-being.
Created in response to the growing number of sexually transmitted infections among young people and the unacceptably high rate of unintended pregnancies in Canada, sexualityandu.ca is part of a Contraception Awareness Program launched in 2000 by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada. The program was originally chaired by Queen’s infertility expert Dr. Robert Reid (Obstetrics and Gynecology).
“We’re delighted that the web site has been recognized in this way, and that it continues to grow in both number of users and in queries addressed by our staff who maintain it,” says Dr. Reid, noting that eight to 10 questions on a wide range of sexual concerns are sent to the site each day through a confidential e-mail system. “In addition to being a resource for those seeking information on contraception and sexual health, the site has become a popular venue for student ‘webquests’ as more and more sex-ed teachers recognize the high quality of the information provided.”
Under the co-supervision of Drs. Reid and Mary Anne Jamieson, Queen’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology offers the only contraception fellowship in Canada, called Contraception Advice Research and Education (CARE Fellowship). As well as responding to e-mail and updating the site’s Contraceptive FAQ Hotline, CARE fellows provide a monthly e-newsletter to on-line subscribers addressing new contraceptive discoveries and breaking news in the field of sexual and reproductive health.
According to current CARE Fellow Dr Melissa Mirosh, the site is used heavily by teenagers and those in their 20s, although a substantial number of queries also come from older people dealing with issues of returning to the dating scene after longstanding relationships have ended.
The Contraception Awareness Program provides workshops and resources for doctors on communication skills in assessing patient needs and helping to avoid unsafe sexual behaviour, particularly in single young women who as a group are at significant reproductive health risk.
Selected from 168 countries’ submissions, the Canadian team will receive its award at the UN’s World Summit on the Information Society next month in Tunisia, Africa. Other winners in the e-health category are from the U.S., India, Australia and the Czech Republic.
Nancy Dorrance, Queen’s News & Media Services, 613.533.2869
Therese Greenwood, Queen’s News & Media Services, 613.533.6907
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