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Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program

Abstinence Education Program

What is the Abstinence Education Program?

The Abstinence Education Program promotes abstinence as a healthy choice and a positive lifestyle through implementation of programs designed to change the culture and individual behavior about out-of-wedlock sexual activity. The program objectives are: 1) to implement programs for school aged children; 2) to implement "talking to your child" programs for parents and interested adults; 3) to reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and births; and 4) to involve the community in the development and implementation of programs and activities that promote and support the abstinence message.

Why is this program needed?

Arizona's teen birth rate continues to be higher than the national average despite significant decreases in these rates since 1998. Arizona's decrease in teen birth rates is in line with a national trend. According to the Arizona Vital Statistics 2010, 10,980 teen women under 20 years of age became pregnant and 9,416 of these women gave birth. 150 pregnancies occurred among teens under 15 years of age and 105 of those teens gave birth. The repeat birth rates for teenagers who already had a child decreased by 36.9 percent from 181.3 in 2000 to 114.4 per 1,000 females 15-19 years old in 2010 who had a previous birth. The 2009 Arizona Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) is a self-report survey of students in grades 9 through 12. This survey assesses behaviors among youth that contribute to the leading cause of morbidity and mortality during adolescence. The YRBS indicates that 48.5% of the youth surveyed have had sexual intercourse.

The teen pregnancy rates dropped to a historic low over the last three years in Arizona. Arizona dropped from 6th in the nation to 12th, with a drop of almost 30%. In 2010, the 18-19 age group had a greater percentage decline than 15-17 age group, 22.2% declined vs. 12.6% decline, respectively. Over the last five years the 15-17 age group had a bigger percentage decline than the 18-19 age groups, 35.2% declined vs. 21.7% decline, respectively.

According to the Impact of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and Genital Herpes on Arizona Adolescents, 2010, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and herpes are more frequently diagnosed in young females than in young males. Since 2004 the incidence of chlamydia among females and males ages 10-19 years old has increased and the incidence of gonorrhea has decreased. For teen males, the rates of syphilis have increased in the past six years however the rates for teen females decreased during this same period. In 2010, there were 8,453 reported cases of chlamydia among 10-19 year olds, corresponding to 928.7 cases per 100,000 10-19 year olds.

What are the goals of the program?

The goals of the program are to:

  • Reduce the number of pregnancies to teenage girls age 15-19
  • Reduce the number of repeat pregnancies to teenage girls age 15-19
  • Reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers age  15-19

Target Audience:

The target audience is youth 12-18 years of age, parents, or other interested adults

What has the program achieved?

Seven of the community-based organizations have been funded since 2008 to provide abstinence education in alignment with federal abstinence education guidelines. Contracts were originally funded with federal abstinence dollars. When the federal program was not reauthorized in July 2009, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) used lottery dollars to continue the program. In 2011, $1,094,361 in lottery dollars funded abstinence education contracts. Last year, 14,810 youth and parents received abstinence education through ADHS contractors. Four new contracts began July 1, 2011 using $1,179, 375 in federal Title V Abstinence Education funding. The Projects expect to reach an additional 14,000 youth and parents in 20 communities throughout the state.


Funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Education programs comes from monies allocated to the Arizona Department of Health Services from funds remaining in the state lottery fund each fiscal year after appropriations and deposits authorized by law are made. In 2010, Title V Abstinence funding was reauthorized and Arizona applied and received those funds. Both funds are used to contract with local communities to develop culturally diverse programs and strategies designed to reduce the incidence of teenage sexual activity and sexually transmitted disease.

Current Program Providers:

The following agencies are providing services in Yuma, Maricopa, Pima, Yavapai, Navajo, Apache, LaPaz, Gila, Pinal and Santa Cruz counties:

  • Yuma County Health Department
  • Pima Youth Partnership
  • Arizona Youth Partnership
  • Campasinos Sin Fronteras
  • Catholic Charities of Maricopa County
  • Catholic Charities of Yavapai County
  • University of Arizona Maricopa County Cooperative Extension Service