The United States has one of the highest rates of unintended pregnancy among Western nations. Each year, half of the more than 6 million pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended. Additionally, the teen birth rate is the highest among Western nations, with approximately 400,000 teens aged 15-19 giving birth every year.
While these statistics are alarming, encouraging news can be found in a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report shows a decline in teen birth rates in nearly every state from 2007 to 2010, with the biggest drop in Arizona at 29 percent. Although this decline moved Arizona out of the top 10 states for the first time in many years, Arizona's rate of 42.4 births per 1,000 is still above the national average of 34.3.
The declines have been attributed to pregnancy prevention efforts. The report noted that a recent government survey showed more use of contraception by teens. The CDC previously reported that U.S. births by mothers of all ages had dropped in 2010 for the third straight year.
These figures underscore the importance of reproductive health and family planning services. These services help to prevent 1.4 million unplanned pregnancies each year. Family planning provides individuals the information and means to exercise personal choice in determining the number and spacing of children. According to the CDC, women should wait 18 to 24 months after having a baby before becoming pregnant again. This spacing helps to reduce health risks to the mother, as well as decreasing the incidence of low birth weight and preterm birth.
Reproductive health and family planning services provide factual information about the conditions under which pregnancy can occur, work to increase motivation and negotiation skills for pregnancy prevention, improve access to contraceptives and encourage the use of more effective contraceptive methods. These services are appropriate for males and females of reproductive age.
Confidential services are available by appointment at the Coconino County Public Health Services District Reproductive Health Clinic. Services include physical exams, STD testing and treatment, birth control, pregnancy testing and referral, HIV testing and emergency contraception. Services are provided to men and women on a sliding fee scale. No one will be denied service due to inability to pay. Services are funded by Title X, Title V, United Way of Northern Arizona and the Coconino County Public Health Services District. Please call 679-7222 for more information or to make an appointment.
Teen Clinic is held on a walk-in basis each Tuesday and Thursday from 2 to 5 p.m. (first come, first served). Teens do not require parental consent to receive services. All males and females 19 and under are welcome.
Amy Young is the Program Manager for the Coconino County Public Health Services District Reproductive Health Clinic. Amy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the Coconino County Public Health Services District at 679-7272. For more information about the Health District Reproductive Health Program, visit www.coconino.az.gov/health or call 679-7222.