Good news for this Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month: new data shows that America’s teen birth rate has dropped by two-thirds since 1991.
Most people would hail this decrease as a success, and while the reduced number is impressive, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention still has some concerns about teen pregnancy.
Despite the lower percentage of teens getting pregnant, there are still around 1,700 girls age 15 – 17 who give birth each week in the United States alone.
Here are some of the factors that lead to teen pregnancy — and how we can address them.
Factors That Contribute to Teen Pregnancy
Lack of Parental Communication
One factor that can lead to teen pregnancy is a lack of communication between parents and their teens. Early intervention is key when it comes to teenagers’ sexual activity. The sooner you discuss sex with your teen, the better informed they will be, and the less likely they are to make risky sexual decisions. It’s important to educate your child on safe sex practices, STDs, and more. Parents need to step up and begin having these conversations — the CDC reports that 1 in 4 teens has never discussed sex with their parents or guardians.
Type of Sex Education
Parents aren’t the only source for sexual education. Schools also have some responsibility when it comes to providing information about sex. Research has shown that the type of sex education a teen receives in school can drastically effect their risk for teen pregnancy. States with more comprehensive sex education — including information on abstinence, birth control, and having healthy, safe sexual relationships — are among the lowest teen pregnancy rates. States such as Texas and Mississippi that emphasize abstinence-only education have higher teen pregnancy rates. Lawmakers and educators need to be aware that more restrictive sex education programs are less effective when it comes to combating teen birth rates — and that 83% of sexually active boys and girls reported receiving no sex education before becoming sexually active.
Access to Birth Control
A lack of understanding about and access to birth control also contributes to teen pregnancy. Studies have shown that teens usually use just condoms — one of the least effective methods — if they are using birth control. Only 1% of sexually active teens surveyed by the CDC reported using more effective means, implantable birth control devices, likely because they don’t have easy access to these forms of contraception. If parents want to get serious about reducing the prevalence of teen pregnancy, it’s time to properly educate teens about birth control and help them get access to the more effective forms.
STD Testing at ARCpoint Labs
Young adults who are sexually active aren’t only at risk for teen pregnancy — they can also fall victim to STDs. You can get accurate, confidential STD testing at your nearest ARCpoint Labs to make sure that your teen’s sexual health isn’t compromised.
To learn more about our STD testing services, locate your nearest ARCpoint Labs today!