Teens – Earn $20 for participating in a teen pregnancy prevention program! Contact Alese (info below) to schedule today.

You may know that Northern Nevada HOPES can be your primary care one-stop-shop for everything from annual well visits, behavioral health, substance treatment and services, nutrition, and much more! But did you know that HOPES also offers out-of-this-world adolescent healthcare services?

Teens need care that respects their transition into adulthood while providing a safety net during this time of growth and experimentation. HOPES adolescent health educator staff focus on this care, specializing in healthy relationships and safer sexuality. What’s that? Sexuality? Yes!

In Washoe County, most teens become sexually active by the time they are seventeen years old. In fact, nearly half of all high school students report being sexually active — but only half of those having sex are using protection like condoms. Yikes! Teens and young adults make up a quarter of the U.S. population but they account for half of all new sexually transmitted infection (STI) cases – that’s 10 million STI cases per year for only 25% of the population.

What’s more, pregnancy complications are the number one killer of teen girls worldwide. Teenage girls are not fully equipped to support themselves, let alone a healthy pregnancy. Half of the girls who become pregnant before the age of 20 don’t complete high school or obtain their GED. In fact, out of those who become pregnant before the age of 18 in the state of Nevada, nearly 1 out of 5 will deliver a second child before the age of 19. Romantic ideas like marriage are also misleading, as only 1 in 5 teen girls marry the father of their child.

So picture this: sexually active teens who have little to no access to contraceptives or factual sexual health education. They are going to do what teens and young adults do – have sex. There’s a chance they will either become pregnant or contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Most STIs can be treated, but a pregnancy is a different story. If both parents decide to parent the child, they will each lose 720 hours of sleep in the first year of the child’s life. A year of diapers is nearly $1,000, and formula – because it’s difficult to breastfeed while in school – can cost $1,800 per year.

What’s the impact? Teen pregnancy increases the chance of health complications, including death. It also affects their socioeconomic wellbeing. A teen mom and baby are more likely to rely on public assistance and to experience poverty into adulthood. Further, children born to teen moms usually have worse education, behavior, and health outcomes than those born to older parents. Plus, it costs taxpayers billions of dollars to support teen parents and their children – an estimated 28 billion dollars annually.

The good news is that national teen pregnancy rates have been dropping steadily since the 1970s. Nevada is still performing worse than other states with nearly 22 births per 1,000 teenage girls compared to the national average of 18 births per 1,000 teenage girls, but with good education and access to contraceptives, we know we can make a difference.

Let’s keep teen pregnancy numbers down! May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention month, and if you know a teen – boy or girl – who could benefit from better sexual health education, send them to the Northern Nevada HOPES Clinic for our signature Seventeen Days sexual health program! Seventeen Days emphasizes healthy decision-making and provides resources to teens who may need them to maintain good health. Of course, the only sex that is 100% safe is no sex at all, and we are here to give our teens the education they deserve to make informed decisions and to protect themselves and their futures.

Seventeen Days is FREE and you don’t need to be a patient to participate. If you call before the end of May, teens will earn a $20 gift card for participating!

If you’re a parent and want to know more about age-appropriate conversations, common concern about teenage sexuality, or how to encourage your teen to delay sex, we’re here to help! Families Talking Together is a program for parents of adolescents 10-14 years old, and we cover all these topics and more. This program is also free and open to anyone who is interested!

For more information or to schedule a Seventeen Days or Families Talking Together session, contact Alese McMurtry at 775-997-7584 or at amcmurtry@nnhopes.org.

Sources:

https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-development/reproductive-health-and-teen-pregnancy/teen-pregnancy-and-childbearing/trends/index.html

https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-development/reproductive-health-and-teen-pregnancy/teen-pregnancy-and-childbearing/teen-childbearing/index.html

https://www.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/04/02/aapnews.20130402-1

https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/TeenPregnancy/index.html