Teen pregnancy rate down but STDs up
Teen pregnancy rates continue to decline. In fact, teen births are down more than 50 percent since 1991 thanks to prevention efforts.
However, when it comes to protecting Tennessee’s students from sexually transmitted diseases/infections (STD/STI) little has changed.
Teens living in Tennessee are twice as likely to become infected by an STD than become pregnant, according to the latest Kids Count data.
More Tennessee teens contracted STDs in the past seven years (35,705 cases from 2006 – 2012) than the previous seven years (29,944 cases from 1999 – 2005). Compare that to the number of pregnancies in the same time period (24,489 cases from 2006 – 2012 and 29,819 cases from 1999 – 2005) and you can see the issue at hand.
How to stop it
The state legislature enacted a Sexual Gateway Law, in 2012, that promotes abstinence-only education in Tennessee schools.
Abstinence is the practice of restraining from any form of sexual behavior.
Abstinent teens have a 100 percent full-proof way of not becoming pregnant or infected with an STD.
Of course, condoms provide some protection against STDs—such as genital herpes, syphilis, and chancroid—which are transmitted through contact with mucosal surfaces or infected skin. But, because these may be transmitted across surfaces not covered or protected by the condom, condoms provide a lesser degree of protection against them.
Statistics are key
Students are also given other statistics, coincidentally, to help them from becoming another statistic.
Like the following:
- More than 50% of teen mothers never graduate from high school
- Less than 2% of teen moms earn a college degree by age 30
- 8 out of 10 teen dads don’t marry the mother of their child
- 50% of teens have never considered how a pregnancy would affect their lives
These types of statistics are used to discourage teens, or at least make them think twice before engaging in sexual/risky behaviors.
Providing teens with evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs help ensure they’ll make the best decisions.
Obviously, more can be done.
Parents talk to your kids about the risks of sexual behavior. It’s not just pregnancy you have to worry about – it’s diseases too.