Unwanted and Unplanned Teen Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Illness (STI)
The birth rate among teens in the United States has declined 9% from 2009 to 2010, a historic low among all racial and ethnic groups, with the least being born in 2010; and in 2011 the number of babies born to adolescents aged 15-19 years of age was 329,797 (“Birth Rates for U.S.”, 2012). Although the decline in unwanted and unplanned teen births is on the rise the United States continues to be among the highest of industrialized countries facing this problem. This is a prevailing social concern because of the health risks to these young mothers as well as their babies. Teens at higher risk of becoming pregnant are raised at or below the poverty level by single parents; live in environments that cause high levels of stress (i.e., divorce, sexual psychological and physical abuse); are influenced by peers or family members that are sexually active; and lack parental guidance that would direct them to be responsible and self-controlled.
Compared to women 20-21 children born to this age group live in environments that lack stimulation with minimal support; experience cognitive development delays and have trouble academically; are maltreated; live in poverty and receive welfare assistance; often become teen parents themselves; exhibit more behavioral problems and have higher rates of incarceration. Parenting teens, especially those 15-17 years of age, opposed to non-parenting teens typically drop out of high school and experience parental related stress that are common indicators of maternal depression (Huang, Costeines, Kaufman & Ayala, 2014). Teen birth rates are higher among Hispanic and non-Hispanic blacks, with 52 % of Hispanic teens and 50% of non-Hispanic blacks becoming pregnant by the age of 20 (Duffy, Prince, Johnson, Alton, Flynn, Faye, & Hinzey, 2012, p. 370). The public cost associated with teenaged parenthood for those ages 19 and under was approximately $9 billion in 2004 (this estimation includes lost tax revenues, public assistance, health care for the children, child welfare, and the criminal justice system); over 30% of adolescent girls come to be pregnant more than once before the age of 20 (Kirby, 2007, p. 145).
Sexually Transmitted Illness
Risky Sexual Behavior
Risky sexual behavior not only results in teen pregnancy but also sexually transmitted illness (STI) (i.e., bacterial vaginosis, chlamydia, genital herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, pelvic inflammatory disease ) presenting another social issue that has far reaching and grave adverse consequences for the teen, their families, their children and the overall public. Adolescent sexual health is a concern to educational specialists, organizations that are youth focused, local and national government agencies, members of the community, medical professionals, parents and caregivers. These groups and individuals collectively and separately work to create programs that will educate...