Image: Shutterstock / Ekaterina Pokrovsky
Getting comprehensive sexual and reproductive Health care as a woman is hard. Getting care while jet setting, however, is damn near impossible.
But a silly-named site is looking to change this fact for female travelers, allowing globetrotters the ability to access need-to-know health information in an easy to read wiki.
is an online, open-source database giving women access to free sexual and reproductive health care information for popular travel destinations across the globe. The resource, which is searchable by major city, outlines where to go for reproductive health care, including gynecological exams, emergency contraception and STI tests. Gynopedia even advises on where to find safe abortion clinics.
"Why did I create Gynopedia? Honestly, because I couldn’t find anything like it."
The resource also includes trusted regional organizations working to promote reproductive rights and curb sexual violence.
Additionally, the wiki details regional stigma around each topic, and offers an average cost of service. Notably, Gynopedia includes information tailored to the LGBTQ community in many of their guidances — a rarity in conversations around reproductive and sexual health.
"Why did I create Gynopedia?" creator Lani Fried writes on the site. "Honestly, because I couldn’t find anything like it."
Modeled after the easy-to-use style of Wikipedia, Gynopedia currently houses extensive information for 67 cities throughout North America, Africa, Asia and South America.
Fried, who is a San Francisco-native, told she was inspired to create the site in 2016 after she realized how "clueless" she was when it came to accessing sexual health care for her upcoming trip to Asia.
But Fried said difficulty accessing care had been an issue even prior to her 2016 trip. Just moving state-to-state within the U.S., she said, required a lot of time and dedication to find quality care.
"I lived in Istanbul for a while a few years back, and I remembered how challenging it was to get a proper STD test there," Fried tells Vice. "And not just in Turkey: I have moved to and from a lot of different American cities, and have always had to do way too much research to gain information on what is basic but essential stuff."
As a frequent traveler, Fried wanted to create a resource that took out the guess-work and apprehension out of crucial care for female travelers. But building the database was a one woman show for a while, with Fried compiling all the information based on her own travels and knowledge.
To help broaden her scope, Fried eventually reached out to national nonprofits and organizations dedicated to sexual and reproductive health to help inform entries.
"When I started it, I was driven by the belief that women and all people — no matter their genders — should be able to make decisions about their own bodies," Fried told Vice. "Whether they choose to become parents or have an abortion, to use birth control or not, the choice is theirs to make. Women's health decisions shouldn't be a political issue."
"I’m someone who has been uninsured, in need of health care and lost in cities many times — and that’s just me."
Like other Wikipedia-styled sites, Gynopedia allows any user to information. Though this feature allows the site to cover more global locations, the crowdsourcing nature of the site also has the potential to negatively impact the quality and reputability of the site's information.
To help set ground rules on editing, Fried created a guidelines page to outline expectations. But while ensuring the site is trustworthy is Fried's top priority, she admits Gynopedia — which she calls a "baby-new project" — can't be her main focus yet.
"The project isn't my full-time occupation, but I really, really care about it," she told Vice. "My main goal now is to recruit more contributors so that we can grow into a full-on Wiki and always be current."
In the meantime, the site is a start to solving a long overlooked issue — and to addressing stigma around sex and sexuality for traveling women.
"I’m no health expert or web entrepreneur. And I probably don’t even know what I am doing here," Fried writes on the site. "But I’m someone who has been uninsured, in need of health care and lost in cities many times — and that’s just me. There are millions of women who have it much worse — cut off from information and progressive health care, isolated from so many resources.
"So, that’s it," she continues. "I got fed up with the state of things, so now I feel crazy passionate about this new ‘lil website.
H/T ViceTopics: Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, reproductive health, Social Good, Startups, Travel, Travel & Leisure, U.S., women, womens health