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AZ Parents Urged to Have "The Talk" with Their Teens

PHOTO: A new campaign from Planned Parenthood Arizona is encouraging teens to "Be Healthy, Be Safe, Be You." It includes advice for parents about talking with kids about sex. Photo credit: mycreditunion.gov
PHOTO: A new campaign from Planned Parenthood Arizona is encouraging teens to "Be Healthy, Be Safe, Be You." It includes advice for parents about talking with kids about sex. Photo credit: mycreditunion.gov
August 13, 2014

PHOENIX - As the school year kicks into gear, Planned Parenthood Arizona is encouraging parents to talk with their children about making healthy choices with their bodies.

Annet Ruiter, Planned Parenthood Arizona's vice president for external affairs, said her organization is promoting its "Be Healthy, Be Safe, Be You" campaign in August. She said the goal is to help young people, with the support of the adults in their lives, make healthy and safe decisions about their sexual health.

"We encourage our teens to talk to their parents and hopefully come to a health center and receive that information that they need," she said, "and when they're ready, if they're ready, discuss their birth control options."

While teen pregnancy rates are declining, Ruiter said, young people in Arizona still are more likely to become pregnant than those in many other states. She said Arizona's teen pregnancy rate is ranked 18th highest in the nation.

Another major cause for concern, Ruiter said, is the spread of sexually transmitted infections. Citing an Arizona Department of Health Services statistic that two-thirds of all STIs diagnosed in 2012 were among people ages 15 to 24, she said talking with kids about making healthy sexual choices often causes them to delay sexual activity.

"A lot of people are afraid that when kids get information about birth control and sexuality that that actually would encourage them to have sex," she said. "The opposite is true. When kids are provided with the accurate information, research shows that they're more likely to wait until they're ready."

The "Be Healthy, Be Safe, Be You" campaign includes a free consultation with a health care provider for new patients at Planned Parenthood of Arizona facilities.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - AZ