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By on May 28, 2013

Teenage pregnancy in the U.S. is a major health issue, permeating every socioeconomic level, race, and class. And if you are in Chicago, you just might think it biologically crosses gender as well. The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) launched its ‘Unexpected’ campaign featuring images of teen boys shown with ‘baby bumps.’

Chicago’s teen birth rate has actually decreased 33% since 1999 but the city is still above the national average.

“The purpose behind the campaign was to get the conversation started, ” says spokesperson, Brian Richardson. “We know that fewer than 2% of teen moms earn a college degree by age 30 and daughters of teen moms are 30-times as likely to be teen moms themselves.” 

The campaign features attention-grabbing images of teenage boys depicted as pregnant to spark conversations among adolescents and adults on the issue of teen pregnancy and to make the case that teen parenthood is more than just a girl’s responsibility.  The ads are currently displayed on public transit buses, trains, platforms and bus shelters in Chicago. It’s part of an overall strategy as the health department as set a goal to distribute two million condoms in 2013 as part of its HIV prevention effort.

“Improving the health and well-being of our youth is a key component in our comprehensive effort to make Chicago the healthiest city in the nation,” said CDPH Commissioner Dr. Bechara Choucair.  “These ads work to increase education and awareness which will in turn help reduce the number of teenage pregnancies in Chicago.”

For more information you can also go to BeyouBehealthy.org and also a sex education blog written by and for adolescents called, sexedloop.com.

“Adolescence may be the healthiest time in most people’s lives, which is why it is often ignored, but by building awareness and making adolescent health a priority, we accomplish two things: We can help reduce sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies now and we can help teens and their families build a healthier future,” said Suzanne Elder, program director of the CDPH Office of Adolescent and School Health.

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