Too Young/Demasiado Joven
Demasiado Joven is a 5 minute, informative, candid and ultimately hopeful video that provides a snapshot of teen pregnancy in the Latino community, as told by Latino teen parents. The video was released by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy as part of Let’s Talk Month, a national cross-organizational campaign every October to plan programs and activities which encourage parent-child communication about sex and reproductive health. The video portrays the struggles often associated with teen pregnancy such as being a single mother, school drop-out, and poverty. These compelling stories can be used as a powerful tool to promote communication between parents and teens to delay sexual behavior among Latino teens. The National Campaign also released a corresponding discussion guide for parents and teens to talk about teen pregnancy which can be accessed here.
While recognizing the social problems often associated with teen pregnancy and highlighted in Demasiado Joven, it is also important to consider the broader context of living as a Latino in the United States. In general, Latinos face a number of barriers in accessing resources to support sexual and reproductive health. For example, Latinos often report not receiving sex education while in school. There is a lack of evidence-based pregnancy prevention programs that specifically target Latinos and Latino adolescents are underrepresented in intervention research studies. Another major barrier to access is that Latinos have the lowest percentage of health insurance coverage compared to other racial or ethnic groups. Instead, Latinos are the most likely to receive episodic care, seeing a different provider at each health care visit which decreases the likelihood of continuity of care. Furthermore, Latinos often reside in communities that have concentrated rates of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, which increases vulnerability to acquiring these diseases. Taken together, these points and the Demasiado Joven video make clear that Latino adolescents face a number of social and economic disadvantages that place them at risk for unplanned pregnancy and other negative sexual and reproductive health outcomes and there is a large unmet need to address these disparities.
National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy’s Latino Initiative
The Latino Initiative was created with the purpose of addressing the shortage of teen pregnancy prevention resources targeted specifically to Latino youth. Specifically, the Initiative runs a Latino Resource Center which contains a number of Latino-specific materials and activities, including a digital media campaign that encourages Latino youth to create and develop pregnancy prevention messages for their peers.
Latino teen birth and pregnancy rates are almost twice the national average and currently one in two Latinas will become pregnant by age 20. In addition to this, Latino youth have expressed feeling overlooked by teen pregnancy prevention messages portrayed by the popular media. The Latino Initiative was created with the purpose of addressing the shortage of teen pregnancy prevention resources targeted specifically to Latino youth. Specifically, the Initiative runs a Latino Resource Center which contains a number of Latino-specific materials and activities, including a digital media campaign that encourages Latino youth to create and develop pregnancy prevention messages for their peers.
Dr. Vincent Guilamo-Ramos is the vice chair of the Latino Initiative Advisory Group as well as a co-director of CLAFH. He has been involved with the Initiative for many years as an advisor on scientific issues about Latino adolescents and their families. One of his latest projects includes a guide for practitioners on parent-child communication about sex in Latino families. You can read it here.