New Mexico: Program Targets Teen Birth Rate
December 16, 2005
In South Valley early next year, the New Mexico Department of Health is launching "Plain Talk" ("Hablando Claro"), a comprehensive program to help youths, parents, and community leaders battle the area's high teen pregnancy and STD rates. Currently, one in 10 South Valley teen girls will have a new baby by the end of the year -- 70 percent of them unplanned -- which is double the state's average.
"Our very well-documented research shows that kids who participated in Plain Talk are 50 percent less likely to become pregnant or contract HIV/AIDS and other STDs," said Debra Delgado, senior associate at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which awarded Plain Talk a $240,000 grant to work in South Valley for three years. In partnership with Public/Private Venture of Philadelphia, the foundation is replicating the program in other communities, including New Orleans, San Diego, Hartford, Conn., Atlanta, and Seattle.
Plain Talk first surveys the community to develop strategies and messages to educate teens and teach parents how to communicate effectively. The final step involves health house-parties for teens and adults.
"These parties are similar to Tupperware parties, but without the Tupperware, and they deal with teen pregnancy and reproductive health," said Delgado.
The attendees and presenters will explore a full range of health options, from abstinence and proper birth control use to proper prenatal care, said Michelle Melendez, a department of health spokesperson. "The purpose of the parties is for parents to learn how to talk frankly with their kids about reproductive health. It's a very comprehensive approach that covers as much as possible."
12.09.2005; Michael Davis
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.