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Planned Parenthood drop-in center: A safe place for teens to ask about safer sex, relationships and gender

The Homepage, published by Hazelwood Initiative

By Juliet Martinez

If you have questions about sexuality, gender, safer sex or birth control, but you don’t know who to ask, you’re in luck. The Planned Parenthood drop-in center at 5125 Second Avenue in Hazelwood is open again.

The drop-in center reopened full-time in late April for the first time since March, 2020, welcoming teens, adults and parents. It is a branch of Planned Parenthood’s education department. Its purpose is to be a safe place offering snacks, medically accurate information, and good conversations about life, relationships, sex, sexuality and sexual health.

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Fun and games at the Planned Parenthood Hazelwood drop-in center at its grand re-opening on April 27.Photo by Darah Boucher

The center also offers free health supplies, including at-home HIV test kits, emergency contraception (Plan B), home pregnancy tests, menstrual products, and safer sex supplies such as internal and external condoms, dental dams, lubricant, and lots of informational brochures.

“It is really important for young people to understand about consent and communication and boundaries and healthy relationships,” said Christine Gordon, vice president of education for Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania, “All of those pieces are a part of a holistic, high-quality sex ed program, and that’s what we do.”

The approach does not assume any one sexual orientation or gender, but actively strives to be inclusive to all.

The center’s new education and outreach specialist, Dany Ricci, said a lot of mainstream sex ed program are narrowly targeted at cisgender and heterosexual young people. But Planned Parenthood offers LGBTQ young people a wealth of information so, as Mx. Ricci said, “queer youth can feel that their needs are important, and you know, they can learn about their bodies and there's not something wrong with them for being the way they are.”

The center is open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 2:00-6:00 p.m. Stop in for snacks, free pregnancy and HIV tests, safer sex supplies, pads and tampons.

For more information, call 412.254.8733 or visit https://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-western-pennsylvania/education-services.

Hazelwood Initiative, Inc., publisher of The Homepage, is a community development corporation and a registered community organization. Hazelwood Initiative, Inc. does not profit by or receive compensation from contributors or organizations for mentions or links in Homepage articles.

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The Homepage is a print newspaper delivered monthly to households in Greater Hazelwood, Glen Hazel, Greenfield, Hays, New Homestead, Lincoln Place and The Run. Hazelwood Initiative, Inc., a community-based nonprofit, publishes The Homepage through a grant from the City of Pittsburgh and advertising revenue from local businesses and organizations. The mission of Hazelwood Initiative, as a community-based development corporation, is to build a stronger Hazelwood through inclusive community development. Sonya Tilghman, Executive Director of Hazelwood Initiative, Inc. (she/her) Juliet Martinez, Managing Editor of The Homepage (they/them) Sarah Kanar, Layout and Design of The Homepage(she/her)

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