Socio-economic conditions has caused uneducated women from the inner-city who are unemployed to have at least 4 to 8 children for different men and in turn find it very difficult to maintain these children. Teenage pregnancy is at an alarming rate even though sexual education is currently taught is high schools from as early as grade seven, peer pressure and myths such as drinking a pepsi or taking an aspirin can prevent pregnancy. Teenagers are quite familiar with the many modern contraceptive methods that are available, though they seldom apply them because of the stigma that is attached.
Conducting this research I’ve discovered that the more things change the more they remain the same, information is a lot more easily accessible now than they were say 10 or 15 years ago, so young people such as adolescent are more informed of the dangers of having unprotected sex, yet we find more and more young people are having unprotected sex, which means that it takes more than just free clinics, a few advertisements through the media and yearly drive by the NFPB to make persons more aware. Don’t be misunderstood the NFPB is doing a tremendous job through the administering and subsequent collecting of the household survey, the Board is able to determine the frequency of condom use, knowledge of contraceptive methods, risky sexual behaviour and the impact of family life education among other Reproductive Health issues. An article published in the Jamaica Observer in 2012 by Conrad Hamilton entitled ‘Poor shun birth control’ with the sub-title ‘Family planning message not reaching lower-income Jamaicans” stated and I quote “There is still the perception that a woman should have out her lot, and there is still a negative attitude towards contraception. Some people argue that it’s a means to reduce the black population” end of quote. This only re-enforce my claim that even though people are aware of the dangers of unprotected sex and the fact that there are clinics that offer free contraceptives people are still not protecting safe sex and adolescent pregnancy continues to be a major health problem in Jamaica with 35 percent of Jamaican women having their first pregnancy by age 19. Most of these pregnancies are not planned. UNICEF attributes high teen pregnancy rates in Jamaica to factors such as a low rate of contraceptive use, an early age for sexual initiation, exchanging sex for resources, and poor access to information.
However, in trying to rectify the issue of teenage pregnancy the authorities need to reach the youth from a more relatable perspective. In order to do this effectively, Guidance Counsellors in schools, need to ensure that the responsibilities of parenthood and the limitations an early pregnancy can cause are understood. Teenagers may hear from their parents, family, church, and community members how difficult, it is to raise children, but what must be acknowledged is that many individuals, youth especially, at times believe they are immune to the consequences of risky behaviours. It must therefore be clearly explained to teens how every aspect of their lives will change with an early unintended pregnancy. Simply saying “abstain from sex”