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Nearly 200,000 Nevada women live in a 'contraceptive desert'

Thought Catalog/Unsplash

In Nevada, 180,000 women struggle to access the healthcare resources needed to provide them with birth control, putting them into a “contraceptive desert,” according to the co-founder of a telehealth company looking to change that.

Amy Fan, co-founder of Twentyeight Health, defines contraceptive desert as not living within a reasonable distance away from a clinic that's able to provide a full range of contraceptive options.

She said along with the great distances some in the state have to travel, Nevada’s blue-collar economy also adds to the challenges many women face in securing birth control.

“What we've seen is that the most commonly cited reasons low-income patients miss in-person appointments is the inability to take time off of work or school, or find affordable childcare,” Fan said, “which means even if there is a clinic that is within driving distance, it doesn't mean they can even actually get there.”

Fan said her company uses technology to help foster better communication between healthcare providers and their remote patients.

“Direct messaging with doctors is particularly important because if someone has experienced side effects, they can actually message the same doctor that wrote their prescription,” Fan said, “and the doctor can help them find a different birth control plan or method that might be more suitable.”

Fan, who said half her company’s clients are from households making less than $25,000, said Twentyeight Health provides free birth control to women in need with subsidies reducing the cost for those making up to 250 percent of poverty level income.

Amy Fan, co-founder, Twentyeight Health

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Lorraine Blanco Moss is the host of KNPR's award-winning Asian American Pacific Islander podcast, Exit Spring Mountain. She's also a former producer for State of Nevada, specializing in food and hospitality, women's issues, and sports.