Pulse puts the power of sexual health information, in English and Spanish, in the hands of millions of young women.
What It Is
Pulse, a web-based mobile health (mHealth) app, uses interactive, multimedia features to enhance engagement and support diverse learning styles. Pulse offers sex-positive, culturally- and age-appropriate text, animation, video, quizzes, interactive graphics, and calendar and clinic locator tools to educate users about birth control, healthy relationships, sexual health, anatomy, pregnancy, and clinical services.
It’s kind of a big deal…Pulse is a smartphone-based digital tool AND it’s proven effective at increasing young women’s sense of control to make decisions regarding their sexual behavior.
These features were carefully designed to support healthy sexual behavior. Pulse is grounded in behavior change theory, uses technology to enhance education, and offers tools linking users to care in their own community. Pulse users access the app autonomously—in their own time and place and on their own terms.
Where We Started
Pulse builds on our experience and success with an app—Crush—we previously co-developed with MetaMedia Training International, Inc. Flashback to 2013, and believe it or not, there were no sexual health apps for young people. But with smartphone access ubiquitous—yes, even WAY back then—we knew there was an opportunity to expand access to critical sexual health information using technology. With a little help from a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from the CDC, Crush was born.
We adapted Crush to create Pulse to better meet the needs of young Black and Latinx women between the ages of 18 and 20. Pulse was supported in part by a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Population Affairs (OPA) Tier 2B Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) grant (formerly administered through the Office of Adolescent Health, or OAH).
Why It Matters
It’s kind of a big deal…Pulse is a smartphone-based digital tool AND it’s proven effective at increasing young women’s sense of control to make decisions regarding their sexual behavior. These barriers can lead to poor mental health and physical health outcomes in a population that already faces significant health disparities.
More Pulse Resources
What We Found
Pulse was tested with a large and diverse group of young women. We found that Pulse helped some women increase their use of effective birth control, increased their knowledge, and instilled positive attitudes on using birth control.
I think the content was[…] was clear enough to make women not feel gross or icky about talking about their vagina or their sexual organs in general…
– 19-year-old Pulse study youth participant
Yeah, I thought it was […] making sure everyone was informed about it and what they can do to protect themselves.
-19-year-old Pulse study youth participant
More Pulse Evaluation Findings
This project was made possible by Grant Number TP2AH000038 from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Populations Affairs (OPA).
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