Glen Cove – Assemblyman Charles D. Lavine announced that legislation he supported establishing an age-appropriate sex education grant program, known as the Healthy Teens Act, passed the Assembly (A.2856).
“This bill addresses the very serious issues of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases,” Assemblyman Lavine said. “Although, nationwide, teen pregnancy rates have declined over the past decade, New York still reported almost 40,000 teen pregnancies in 2004, and the occurrence of sexually transmitted diseases among teens remains at a dangerous level.”
Under the Healthy Teens Act, the Department of Health will distribute grants to school districts, BOCES, and school-based and community-based health centers with a proven history of success in reaching the adolescents of New York. The grant money will help these organizations conduct comprehensive, age-appropriate educational programs aimed at preventing unintended pregnancies and the transfer of sexually transmitted diseases among teens.
Assemblyman Lavine noted that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, national rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea are highest among young adults ages 15 to 24, and New York is no exception. In fact, some communities in New York State claim to have some of the highest teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease rates in the country.
“Statistics have shown that intensive educational programs, with parental involvement, have a dramatic effect on teenagers’ decision-making skills regarding sexual activity,” Assemblyman Lavine said. “These programs give young people the tools they need to protect themselves and their partners from unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
“New York is facing a public health crisis,” he added. “We must support the creation of programs like the Healthy Teens Act so that young adults here in New York can learn the necessary information and skills they need to become healthy adults.”