Along with several organizations, agencies and institutions at a variety of social levels and as part of President Obama's Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, the CDC is taking many steps to allow these things to happen.
One of the big pushes that the CDC has helped to support pertains to comprehensive sex education. In the past 5 years, several states have passed pieces of legislation (like the Healthy Youth Act) which require all schools to teach appropriate, medically-based lessons on sexual and reproductive health, communication and healthy choices, to students throughout the age groups.
Through research and program analysis, the CDC has helped schools and health organizations design the most effective curricula. This research indicates that teens who undergo comprehensive sex education are less likely than students who are not provided with the same information about these topics to have an unintended pregnancy.
So, from policy and political advocacy to research and program analysis, as well as through online outreach and resource development for providers, parents and teachers, the CDC is making many strides in the effort to reduce rates of teen pregnancy. And while the issue is complex, controversial and requires cooperation from many realms of the community, unlike many of the other battles we are fighting in Public Health, it is one we know how to make positive changes in.
How can you do your part?
1. Get comfortable talking about sex! Whether it is with your partner, your parent or child, your teacher or students, your provider or patients -- as a society we must become more open to discussing the facts of life, the nitty-gritties of how our bodies work. When teens have the facts and know the real consequences of their actions as well as the resources and people they can access if they have questions or concerns, they are far less likely to make risky choices.
2. Find out your state's policy on sex education. Advocate for policies that promote fact-based curricula for every age group.