Jul 3, 2014 8:12 PM by Andy Koen
PUEBLO - Teen pregnancies in Colorado dropped by 40 percent since 2009. Governor Hickenlooper and members of the State Department of Public Health and Environment are celebrating the success of a campaign aimed at increasing access to birth control.
Historically, teen birth rates in Pueblo County have trended higher than state averages. But Public Health Director Dr. Chris Nevin-Woods says unintended teen births dropped in Pueblo County as well by 34 percent through 2012.
She points to new Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC) in playing a key role in that trend.
"You put it in, you don't have to worry about it for years and it works. It's the best form of birth control there is other than sterilization," Nevin-Woods said.
There's no pill to take everyday that might be lost or forgotten. Without insurance, though, these devices can as much as $500, too expensive for teens in a low-income community.
So, the health department, with help from private donors, is giving LARC birth control devices for free to girls under age the 19. Young women above the age of 19 can also buy LARC's at a reduced cost if they meet income qualifications.
"I see it everyday," said public health educator Trena Johnson, "If we didn't have that help with those dollars from private funders to help us give those methods, the most effective methods, I know that (teen girls) probably wouldn't be selecting it."
Another major component of the campaign been educating teens about birth control and encouraging them to talk with their parents about sex.
"One of the parts of this initiative is what's called normalizing the conversation, making it a normal part of life to be able to talk about sexuality and sexual activity and your body," explained Dr. Nevin-Woods.
LARC birth control devices are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
The clinic at the Pueblo City-County Health Department is open weekdays form 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It's located on the second floor of the health department building at 101 W. 9th Street downtown.