Tennessee Teens Encouraged to Stop, Think and Take Action

Wednesday, April 26, 2006 | 07:00pm

May Marks Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month,
National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Nashville, April 27, 2006

Through a proclamation signed by Governor Phil Bredesen, Tennessee is joining the entire nation this month in celebrating May as Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. In observance of Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month and the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy on May 3, the Tennessee Department of Health’s Tennessee Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program (TAPPP) is asking teens to stop, think and make a plan to avoid pregnancy and other consequences of sex.

In 2004, there were 4,163 adolescent pregnancies for females aged 10 to 17. While the adolescent pregnancy rate in Tennessee fell to an all-time low of 13.2 per 1,000 population in 2004, rates remain disproportionately higher for black females (23.6 per 1,000 population) than white females (10.2 per 1,000 population).

“The Department of Health is fortunate to partner with a multitude of diverse agencies and organizations statewide, in an ongoing effort to improve our youths’ general health, and specifically to reduce the risk factors for adolescent pregnancies in Tennessee,” said Health Commissioner Kenneth S. Robinson, M.D. “While I am cautiously optimistic about the most recent statistics indicating a decline in our state’s teen pregnancy rates, I encourage all of us – in whatever capacity or setting we may reach or influence adolescents – to remain vigilant and motivated toward enhancing the health outcomes of our young people.”

On May 3, teens 13 and older are encouraged to visit the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy’s Web site at http://www.teenpregnancy.org to participate in an interactive quiz that asks teens to reflect on the best course of action in a number of tough and realistic sexual situations that include peer pressure, underage drinking and gossip. The quiz will be available in both English and Spanish and reaches teens where they already are – online. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, more than 73 percent of 12 to 17 year olds use the Internet, often surfing the Web for health information and interactive games. Last year, 66 percent of the teens who completed the quiz reported the consequences of sex seemed more real. Sixty-one percent of those responding said that they and their friends had faced some of the situations in the quiz.

The Tennessee Department of Health offers services and funding for programs from abstinence education to pregnancy prevention to family planning.

  • Family planning services are available in all 95 counties in Tennessee. All citizens of reproductive age are eligible for services at more than 130 clinic sites across the state.
  • The Tennessee Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program (TAPPP) was established in 1988 to promote community awareness, facilitate collaboration, increase prevention efforts, and improve and expand service availability for pregnant and parenting adolescents.
  • The Abstinence Program funds 21 community-based projects in 18 counties, and coordinates an annual statewide conference for parents, youth development workers, and state employees.
  • The Community Prevention Initiative (CPI), which recently awarded requests for grant proposals, will provide model programs for children and adolescents ages 8 to 16.
  • HIV counseling and testing sites provide screenings for HIV, assessment for HIV/AIDS risk behaviors and counseling regarding risk reduction.
  • Pregnancy testing and counseling is available in all local health departments statewide.

For information about programs and services, as well as statistics provided by the Tennessee Department of Health, visit the Department’s Web site at http://www.state.tn.us/health. To learn more about services available in your area, contact your local health department or the Tennessee Clearinghouse for Adolescent Pregnancy Issues at 1-877-461-8277. A list of local health departments is available on the Department of Health’s Web site at http://www2.state.tn.us/health/LocalDepts/ index.html. To find out more about Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month and the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, visit the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy’s Web site at http://www.teenpregnancy.org.

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