186089 Reproductive Health communication between Parents and Adolescents falls short

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pamela Patterson, BSN , Neighborhood Services Division, Houston Department of Health and Human Services, Houston, TX
Calvin Ford, BA , Department of Child Protective Services, Houston, TX
Despite the impact of peer influences on sexual behavior, parents are the best educators for their children. Research indicates that children prefer such information from their parents/legal guardians. However, teens are more likely to share feelings about sex with their friends versus parents. Nationally, nearly half (46%) of all 15 19 year olds have had sex at least once. Black teens have the highest teen pregnancy rate (134 per 1,000 ages 15 19), followed by Hispanics (131 per 1, 1000) and non Hispanic Whites (48 per 1,000).

Locally in Texas, between 1996 and 2003 the teen pregnancy rate declined 37% in Harris County and 32% statewide. In 2003, Black teens in Texas were more than twice as likely as White teens to give birth; and Hispanic teens were more than 3.5 times as likely as their white peers to give birth. Awareness is paramount.

Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS) adopted Let's Talk Month sponsored by Advocates for Youths. Celebrated in October, this national education campaign supports families and communities to implement activities encouraging parent/child communication about sexuality. HDHHS initiated programming at Lyons Health Center which has a disproportionate teen population accessing services for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancies. Based upon this success and on-going community needs, Let's Talk Month will expand to Kashmere High School (and feeder pattern) in the Houston Independent School District. Once slated for closure, this school has developed internal and external partnerships to significantly increase test scores, appropriate school behavior and social interactions.

Learning Objectives:
1.Discuss strategies to increase awareness about teen sexual behavior 2.Describe activities to improve parent-child communication 3.Identify ways to increase community involvement aimed at healthy teen behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: provided the training to Lyons Health Center and the clients on reproductive health
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.