It’s Time to Change the Conversation

Washington, D.C. can celebrate its lowest teen pregnancy rate on record, 31.7 pregnancies per

thousand girls 15 to 19 years old.

While a lower teen pregnancy rate in the nation’s capital is certainly great news, there are still more than 500 teen births

each year in Washington, D.C. More than half of the births are to teens in Wards 7 and 8 where poverty rates are high and

high school graduation languishes behind the rest of the city.

Adults rarely include teenagers in the teen pregnancy prevention conversation.

What would happen if instead of going on and on about the negative consequences of having sex

such as emotional distress, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, etc.— adults started

the conversation by talking to teens about their dreams and aspirations? About positive actions teens themselves can take?

· Making a conscious decision to postpone pregnancy until at least after high school graduation and even better, until you’re emotionally and financially prepared to be a

parent;

· Planning ahead for sex instead of letting it “just happen”;

· Talking with the person you’re planning to have sex with about protecting each other when you do have sex—and that means

using contraception and a condom.

These actions point teens in the right direction by giving them something positive to do rather than harping on what NOT to do.

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