TEEN PREGNANCY: Statewide Prevention Campaign Launched
California, which boasts the nation's highest teen pregnancy rate, has launched a statewide public education campaign that calls on elected officials and communities to take realistic approaches to preventing teen pregnancy in conjunction with Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month beginning May 1. Part of a $60 million, 10-year teen pregnancy prevention initiative funded by the California Wellness Foundation, "Get Real About Teen Pregnancy" promotes the concept of the "sexually healthy" teen who needs accurate, comprehensive sexuality education and access to contraceptives in order to avoid unplanned pregnancies. "It's time to acknowledge that teens are sexual beings," said adolescent sexuality expert Dr. Claire Brindis of the University of California-San Francisco. "While sexual abstinence is a wise and healthy choice for teenagers, the fact of the matter is that over half of California teens will have intercourse before they graduate from high school," she added, noting that parents need to speak frankly with their teens about sex. While teens may not appear to be listening, she said, "research shows that teenagers are more influenced by the values and attitudes of their parents than anyone else." California Wellness Foundation President Gary Yates said, "Ideally children should grow up in an environment where they can develop healthy adolescent sexuality. This means they will have the information, self-esteem, role modeling and family support they need to delay becoming sexually active. Additional information about the campaign can be found at www.letsgetreal.org (release, 4/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.