May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month | NevadaAppeal.com

May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month

Cortney Bloomer
Carson City Health and Human Services

This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.

May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, and Carson City Health and Human Services is proud to work with our partners across the region to educate young people. Through CCHHS’ Adolescent Health Education Programs, the Health Department offers two evidence-based programs to help teach teens and pre-teens factual information about pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and the risks for HIV. Both abstinence-only and comprehensive programs are available, and complement educational programming administered through the schools. Parents are given the opportunity to discuss these issues with their teens throughout both programs to ensure their families’ values are protected.

Since the early 1990s, teen pregnancy and birth rates in the United State have declined by 52 percent and 57 percent, respectively, and are now at record low levels. Despite this progress, there is still much work to be done. It’s still the case nearly 1 in 4 girls are going to get pregnant at least once before they turn 20, and the rates in this country are far higher than other industrialized countries. Despite progress, Nevada still ranks 44th for teen pregnancy and 35th for teen births.

The economic costs of teen pregnancy are high. Not only are pregnant and parenting teens more likely to drop out of school, thereby decreasing their ability to support themselves financially, additionally, teen pregnancy costs Nevada taxpayers more than $100 million dollars each year. Nationwide, teen childbearing cost taxpayers (federal, state, and local) at least $9.4 billion in 2010, according to an analysis by The National Campaign. Most of the costs of teen childbearing are associated with negative consequences for the children of teen mothers, including increased costs for health care, foster care, incarceration, and lost tax revenue.

Despite the negative financial prospects associated with teen pregnancy, the true costs lie in the emotional toll many teen parents and their children face. Pregnant teens face stigma, shame, and challenges their peers don’t. Carson City Health and Human Services believes the best way to eliminate these hardships is to provide young people with the tools they need to make positive choices for themselves that prevent teen pregnancy.

To learn more about National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, visit StayTeen.org. 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.