Get Healthy Carson City: Preventing teen pregnancy a focus this month
Carson City Health and Human Services
This column appears in the Nevada Appeal’s Tuesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, a monthlong effort to bring awareness to the issues surrounding teen pregnancy in the United States. Carson City Health and Human Services is proud to work with our partners across the region to reach out to young people to educate them about prevention pregnancy, as well as sexually transmitted infections, and HIV.
The overwhelming majority of teen pregnancies are unplanned. That alone is reason enough to care about preventing teen pregnancy. But, it is also the case that teen pregnancy is closely linked to a host of other critical social issues — poverty and income, child wellbeing, out-of-wedlock births, responsible fatherhood, health issues, education, child welfare, and other risky behavior. Teen pregnancy should be viewed not only as a reproductive health issue, but as one that works to improve all of these measures.
The goal of CCHHS’ Adolescent Health Education Programs (AHEP) is to help lower the teen birth rate in the coming years. In 2015, the most recent year for which data is available, the teen birth rate in Nevada was just over 28 per 1,000 youth aged 15-19. Sarah Johnson, the Adolescent Health Coordinator at Carson City Health and Human Services, is heartened by recent declines in the teen birth rate, but feels that more can be done.
“Through community efforts and education, we can continue to make the rate of pregnancy among our teens even lower,” she said, continuing, “During Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, and throughout the year, we are proud to be continually providing curriculum to our community to make our teens more knowledgeable and empowered when it comes to their sexual health.”
Through AHEP, two programs are being offered to help provide teens and pre-teens age appropriate, factual information about pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and the risks for HIV. The abstinence-only curriculum, Promoting Health Among Teens, and a comprehensive program, Making Proud Choices, are available to share information with youth in an age appropriate and culturally sensitive way. Parents are given the opportunity to discuss these issues with their youth and teens throughout both programs to ensure that their family’s values are protected. CCHHS’ AHEP staff work across the region to deliver these programs, and are currently recruiting schools and youth organizations to host classes.
Carson City Health and Human Services recognizes that abstinence is the only 100 percent effective way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. However, for teens who are considering being sexually active, it’s important that they understand their options for pregnancy prevention and safer sex. Teens can access services at CCHHS’ clinic on their own. At the clinic, as part of an overall health check, a nurse will review birth control options, and the teen can select the method that fits best for them.
To learn more about the Adolescent Health Education Programs offered by Carson City Health and Human Services, contact Vicky Chandler at 775-283-7529. To schedule an appointment with the clinic, please call 775-887-2195. For information on other Health Department services, check out our website at http://www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or visit us at http://www.facebook.com/cchhs.