Don’t Wait, Just Tell

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October 26, 2010; Source: Baltimore Sun | Educating young women about how early or unprotected sex can lead to unwanted pregnancies is only half the battle. Boys and young men need to hear the same message too if the number of teen pregnancies are to be reduced.

That fact, combined with a $4 million grant, is leading Women Accepting Responsibility (WAR), a Baltimore nonprofit, to begin counseling both sexes on how to prevent pregnancies. According to Bernice Tucker, founder and executive director of the group that previously only worked with females, girls understand the perils of early and unprotected sexual activity. However she adds that because their “significant others” haven’t heard the same message, girls “have a hard time” practicing what they learned when they “go back” to them.

Tucker says now both sexes “are going to be getting the tools to make different choices.” The grant to WAR is part of a $75 million U.S. Health Health and Human Services effort to support the expanded use of programs that have been successful at reducing teen pregnancy. To instruct some 1,164 teens over the next five years about how to avoid unwanted pregnancies WAR will use a curriculum called, Becoming a Responsible Team (BART).

The Baltimore Sun reports that the Centers for Disease Control found that a significant percentage of the 245 teens that took part in BART in Jackson, Miss., were said to be less sexually active than their peers after a year. In addition, the paper noted that fewer kids said they started being sexually active and more said they used condoms.—Bruce Trachtenberg