New York City today launchesan ad campaign directed at encouraging South Bronx teens to use condoms and birth control -- together -- to prevent HIV other STDs and pregnancy. The campaign is part of the city's efforts to ensure that all teens have the information, skills and resources to make healthy decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.
The South Bronx has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and STDs in New York City; in 2009, 12 out of every 100 teens aged 15-19 became pregnant.
Nearly nine out of 10 teen pregnancies in New York City are unintended. The ad campaign emphasizes the need to use condoms together with hormonal birth control or the intrauterine device. These two methods, when used together, are 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy and STDs, including HIV. In the South Bronx, only 11 percent of sexually active public high school students report using condoms together with hormonal birth control or the IUD.
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The ad campaign is one component of Bronx Teens Connection, a project of the NYC Health Department that is working to lower teen birth rates in the South Bronx. It is one of nine projects across the nation that is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to improve teens' sexual and reproductive health.
Bronx Teens Connection is based at the Bronx District Public Health Office and includes as its partners local schools, clinics, community-based organizations and several city agencies. It seeks to ensure that Bronx teens are receiving comprehensive sexual health education in high schools and that they have access to age-appropriate, confidential, affordable reproductive health services.
Teens in NYC ...
Access confidential and free or low-cost birth control, emergency contraception, STD tests and pregnancy tests. Teens in New York have the right to get sexual health services on their own without the permission or knowledge of parents, guardians, boyfriends, girlfriends, relatives, teachers or anyone else. Search NYC Teen on www.nyc.gov or call 311 and ask for a Teens in NYC guide of clinics. You can also specifically ask for a clinic located near you.
Get free condoms. Search NYC Condom on www.nyc.gov for a list of condom distribution sites.
If you're 17 or older, buy emergency contraception (also known as the "morning-after pill") over the counter, without a doctor's prescription, at a pharmacy.
At public high schools, get free condoms, referrals and more from the health resource room or, in some schools, at the school-based health center.
If you're not sure you're ready for sex, it's better to wait. Someone who really cares for you won't pressure you. You can say "no" now - even if you said "yes" before.
60 seconds with Dr. Bedell
How to prevent STDS and pregnancy
Metro asked Dr. Jane Bedell of the NYC Health Department's Bronx District Public Health Office about preventing pregnancy and STDs.
1. If you're sexually active, or think you will be soon, be prepared with birth control and condoms.
2. Use a condom to reduce the risk of getting HIV and other STDs, including chlamydia and HPV. Use a male or female condom correctly every time you have sex. Never use a male condom with a female condom or more than one condom at the same time.
3. If you're at risk of pregnancy, use one of the following safe and effective birth control methods along with condoms. A health care provider can tell you more about them, and then you can choose what's right for you.
IUD (intrauterine device) - the hormonal version (Mirena) works for up to five years; the nonhormonal, copper IUD (ParaGard) works for up to 12 years.
Implant (Implanon) that lasts up to three years
Injection (Depo-Provera) that you get every three months
Vaginal ring (NuvaRing)
Birth control pills ("the pill")
4.There is also emergency contraception (also known as the "morning-after pill") that can prevent pregnancy up to five days after unprotected sex -- but the sooner you take it afterward, the better.