For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Oxarart
775.328.2414 or 775.772.1659
Reno, May 13, 2019 - May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, and local health officials remind residents that Washoe County continues efforts to reduce teen pregnancy as well as promote women’s health. While the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unintended Pregnancy reports that there has been a steep decline in the teen pregnancy rate in the United States since 1991 and Nevada has also reported a steep decline in both the teen pregnancy and teen birth rates, health officials stress the importance of continued education and support of programs working to prevent teen pregnancies.
“At a time when sexually transmitted diseases are increasing, the declining teen birth rate demonstrates the importance of community partners working together to provide education and services to our youth,” said Dr. John Novak, Washoe County District Board of Health Chair. “Collaborative efforts should continue to promote even healthier outcomes that are cost effective for our youth and our community”, he continued. According to Novak, the Washoe County Health District offers a variety of family planning services through their Family Planning Clinic and Teen Health Mall. Services include: contraception and contraception counseling, pregnancy testing and referral and sexually transmitted disease testing and counseling.
Recent data show the teen birth rate in Nevada declined 71% between 1991 and 2017 and the teen pregnancy rate from 1998 to 2013 (the most recent data available) declined 66%. Following the state and national trends, Washoe County has also experienced a decline in the teen birth rate.
The steep decline in the teen pregnancy rate leaves a positive impact on the teens themselves as well as the communities they live in. According to The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unintended Pregnancy preventing teen pregnancy reduces poverty, improves a teens lifelong income, increases the graduation rate, improves health and child welfare, supports responsible fatherhood, and reduces other risky behavior. Additionally, in 2015 it is estimated that the state of Nevada saved $29 million due to the falling teen birth rate.
While the teen birth rate continues to decline there are still areas for improvement to ensure the continued decline in both the teen birth and teen pregnancy rate. As of 2017 (latest year for which data is available), Nevada ranks 33 out of 50 states for the teen birth rate and 41 out of 50 states for the teen pregnancy rate. In Nevada, the majority of teen births are to older teens (18-19 year olds). However, the repeat teen birth rate in Nevada remains an area for improvement. It is estimated that 17% of the teen births were to teens who already had a child.
Access to confidential services for sexual and reproductive health for teens also remains a barrier and an area for improvement. Confidentiality concerns are a significant issue to teens with 1 in 5 teens aged 15-17 reporting that they would not seek sexual and reproductive health care because of concerns that their parents may find out. In one survey, only 22% of teens aged 15-17 years old with confidentiality concerns had received contraceptive services in the prior year.
More information is available by calling 775-328-2470 or by visiting washoecounty.us/health.
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