Washington (PRWEB) May 02, 2013
The United States continues to have among the highest adolescent pregnancy and birth rates in the industrialized world. Now is the time to continue our efforts to reduce unintended teen pregnancy by taking action during National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month (NTPPM).
NTPPM’s goal is to ensure young people have all the information and skills they need, including comprehensive sex education programs, youth-friendly reproductive health services, open communication with parents, and a secure stake in the future.
NTPPM began as a revolutionary way to increase public awareness of and commitment to preventing teen pregnancy. Since 1995, Advocates for Youth has been the national sponsor of NTPPM, which now takes place each May across the country. NTPPM seeks to involve communities in promoting and supporting effective teen pregnancy prevention initiatives, as well as initiating new and innovative ideas to help young people make informed, responsible decisions about their health.
“When I started National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, I wanted to start a new dialogue on teen pregnancy,” said Barbara Huberman, Director of Education and Outreach at Advocates for Youth. “It can be tough for society, teachers, and even parents to discuss pregnancy prevention with young people, but we know giving young people honest and accurate information is the best approach. For example, when parents speak to their children about condoms and contraception before they became sexually active, young people are more likely to use protection when they do become sexually active and delay initiation of sexual activity.”
Parents play an important role, but they also need support from society, starting with good sex education in school. Teenagers who receive comprehensive sex education are 50 percent less likely to experience teen pregnancy compared to those who were taught in abstinence-only programs; and recent studies conclude that declines in teen pregnancy are due to increased contraceptive use. Inequities in socioeconomic status and education must also be addressed: teens who live in poverty or have low expectations for their futures are also more likely to become pregnant. We know that, given all the tools, teenagers can and do take steps to delay pregnancy until later in life.
Acknowledging the importance of a coordinated response to this issue, for the first time the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) has planned a series of events during the month of May to keep a focus on teen pregnancy prevention and highlight the important work of several of their grantees.
Advocates for Youth has many resources for youth, parents, policy makers, schools, and organizations to participate in NTPPM, including a recently updated National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month (NTPPM) Planning Guidebook. This guidebook will provide you with strategic tips and examples to help your local community plan and implement activities for NTPPM and beyond. Further discussion on NTPPM will be on Twitter using #NTPPM and on Facebook.
Advocates for Youth is a national nonprofit that champions programs and advocates for policies that help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health. Advocates’ Youth Activist Network stands 75,000 strong on 1,000 campuses and in tens of thousands of communities.