Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health Researchers Find Unacceptably High Rates of Teen Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections in the Bronx

A new report from the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health (CLAFH) at New York University's Silver School of Social Work finds the Bronx, "ranks among the worst counties in the United States when it comes to adolescent sexual health outcomes," such as teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.

Entitled, "Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health Disparities: The Case of Youth Residing in the Bronx," the report was written by Professor Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, co-director of CLAFH, with CLAFH researchers Jane Lee and Laryssa Husiak. It was co-published with the Morris Heights Health Center.

According to the report, the Bronx has among the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the nation, as well as a rate of sexually transmitted infections that is much higher than national averages. The Bronx also has significantly poorer adolescent sexual and reproductive outcomes relative to New York City's other boroughs.

However, the rate at which Bronx teens behaviorally engage in risky sex, drugs, and alcohol use is comparable to, and not much higher than, teens nationwide. Individual behavior among Bronx adolescents does not, then, fully account for the observed differences. The context in which Bronx youth live - in a borough disadvantaged across critical social, economic, and health indicators - shapes adolescent sexual and reproductive health outcomes.

The report documents the full extent of the crisis, explores the factors fueling it, and offers a series of recommendations to help turn around the situation. It was released on November 17 at a news conference at the Morris Heights Health Center as part of a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Changing The Odds, a community health program operated by the health center.