Report Reveals Alexandria Adolescent Pregnancy Rates Declining, How Disparities Are Being Addressed
A DCHS CONNECT FEATURE
December 23, 2020--This year’s Alexandria Health Department’s report on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health in the City of Alexandria, now online, reveals a continuing decline in Alexandria’s teen pregnancy rate.
Alexandria’s teen pregnancy rate fell from 13.7 pregnancies per 1,000 females in 2018 to 13.4, a decline of 2.2%. Pregnancy rates among Alexandria teens ages 15 to 17 and 18 to 19 remain below the benchmarks of Healthy People’s 2020 initiative, which sets measurable objectives to improve the health and well-being of people nationwide.
The report was presented during a community meeting last month hosted by the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy (ACAP), which engages the community with evidence-based education, training, support and programs for teens, parents, schools and youth-serving organizations.
“We have achieved a 76% overall teen pregnancy rate decrease in teens from 10-19 years old since 2000,” said ACAP Coordinator Lisette Torres. “This reflects, in part, good choices by teens supported with evidence-based approaches to prevention by ACAP, City agencies and community partners, including Alexandria City Public Schools and the Alexandria Health Department’s Teen Wellness Center.”
There are still disparities among subsets of the teen population, with higher pregnancy rates among Hispanic and Black teens. Of the 80 unplanned teen pregnancies in 2018, 55% were among Hispanic teens, 28% among Black teens and 15% were among white teens.
“Even though pregnancy rates are declining, we cannot take our eyes off the issue, particularly as we focus on health equity,” said Torres.
To address the issue, ACAP is partnering with the Teen Wellness Center to develop important messaging in Spanish and introduce a prevention program specifically targeted to Latino and older youth.
The event also celebrated ACAP’s 20th anniversary, which included a proclamation from Mayor Justin Wilson recognizing the coalition’s work and a review of key milestones, including the founding of ACAP, the opening of the Teen Wellness center and the introduction of long acting reversible contraceptives.
“These milestones correlate with significant drops in teen pregnancy rates during or following the years they occurred,” Torres noted.
For more information about ACAP or to access resources for parents, teens and service providers, visit alexandriava.gov/ACAP.