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Teen Pregnancy Prevention

Sexuality Education

Research indicates that balanced, realistic sexuality education; which includes information on both abstinence and contraception; can delay teens' onset of sexual activity, increase the use of contraception by sexually active teens, and reduce the number of their sexual partners. Moreover, an overwhelming majority of Americans support providing sexuality education in junior and senior high schools. In particular, most Americans want students to have information about protecting themselves against unplanned pregnancy and infection with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Youth Development

Research shows that youth development programs can reduce sexual risk behaviors and teenage pregnancy. These programs are comprehensive and multifaceted. They build on the assets and strengths of young people and assist youth to define goals, complete school, and plan their futures. Youth development seldom tackles isolated problems; such as sexual risk behaviors; but focuses instead on providing holistic support and opportunities for young people. Youth development is a strategy that attempts to meet the needs young people themselves identify: to have life skills, to be cared for and safe, to be valued and useful, and to be spiritually grounded. It meets these needs by building on young people's capacities, assisting them to cultivate their own talents and to increase their feelings of self-worth, and easing their transition to adulthood.

Access to Contraception

Making contraceptives available to youth also reduces adolescents' sexual risk behaviors. Confidential and low-cost contraceptive services ensure that sexually active teens have what they need to protect themselves and their partners from the risk of infection with HIV or STDs and unintended pregnancy. Research demonstrates that teenage women would experience an estimated 385,800 additional unintended pregnancies annually if publicly subsidized contraceptive services were not available. Therefore, publicly funded contraceptive services annually avert about 154,700 births, 183,300 abortions, and 47,800 miscarriages or spontaneous abortions among teens.

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