teen pregnancy; STD; intervention


Public Health


Pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among youth ages 15-24 persist as important public health issues in spite of significant investments in the development and implementation of evidence-based preventive interventions. Further, female African American youth are disproportionately affected by teen pregnancy and STDs. The purpose of this study was to better understand female African American youth’s perceptions of teen pregnancy and STDs, and the characteristics they desire in sexual and reproductive health interventions. Interviews with 19 African American females ages 13-24 were conducted. Results indicated that participants perceived teen pregnancy to be common, but STDs to be rare. Overall, participants desired more information about contraceptive methods and different types of STDs, and frequently noted youth facilitators in school and community-based programs who had experienced these issues would be more impactful than adult facilitators. Participants also suggested that parents and clinical providers should play larger roles in educating youth about teen pregnancy and STDs. Intervention developers should capitalize on the important role of peers, parents, and medical providers in female African American youths’ lives by developing teen pregnancy and STD interventions that incorporate parents, peers, and medical providers in integral ways.

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