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What It Is

Adolescent Health Initiatives

The Adolescent Health Initiatives (AHI) section of the Divison of Women's Health works in collaboration with mulitiple partners across the commonwealth to promote adolescent health. We are dedicated to improving the health well being of Kentucky's youth so that they will have every opportunity to grow up safe and healthy and develop into successful adults.

​Healthy kids make better students and potentially more successful adults. Addressing adolescent priority health risks, especially behaviors that put young people at risk for teen pregnancy, suicide, dating violence, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), remains a challenge. To address these issues and make positive changes in the health and well being of Kentucky's youth, the AHI coordinators partners with the Kentucky Teen Pregnancy Coalition, the Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group, the Kentucky Stakeholders for HIV/STD Prevention and Coordinator School Health team, represents adolescent women on the Women's Health Coaliton and is a member of the Kentucky Youth Development Partnership.

Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiatives

According to data released by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the teen birth rate in the United States increased 1 percent in 2007. From 2006 to 2007 the Kentucky teen birth rate fell 0.9 percent but still remains 10 points over the national rate. The national increase follows 14 years of continuous decline in the teen birth rate.  That is, after declining 34 percent from 1991 to 2005, the national teen birth rate increased 5 percent from 2005 to 2007. The national birth rate for teens age 15-19 in 2007 was 43 per 1,000. Kentucky's teen birth rate for the same age group and year was 53.1 per 1,000 overall or 7,443 births. 

Local health departments in approximately 80 counties are approaching the problem of teen pregnancy through various activities including: forming local coalitions and work groups; providing school-based curricula in abstinence education and/or sexuality education; funding public service announcements and other mass media campaigns; and providing information to students and parents at health fairs, community and school events and other public forums.

The Division of Women's Health is developing a strategic plan to prevent teen pregnancy that will include education initiatives to youth and parents, community involvement and media support. This plan is scheduled to be released the first week of May 2010 in connection with the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. The Division of Women's Health/AHI division is committed to decreasing teen pregnancy in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  

2010 Teen Pregnancy Prevention Summit Registration Form

Suicide Prevention

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Kentuckians age 15-24.  Although suicide is relatively rare among children, the rate of suicides and suicide attempts increases tremendously during adolescence. Even though we do not hear a great deal about teen suicide, it is a very real problem, causing the deaths of thousands of teenagers across the country each year.

Suicide is a serious health problem and is completely preventable.  Thatis why the Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group has adopted the motto Let's Talk....  It is important to recognize the warning signs and behaviors of suicide and know what to do to intervene. Programs have been developed to educate adults and students in suicide prevention.

  • QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) is a program offered throughout the state to train participatns to recognize behaviors and other signs that can indicate a person is considering suicide, and methods to prevent teen suicide. Educators, parents and health care providers are encouraged to participate in this valuable training by contacting the Kentucky Department For Mental Health (502-564-4448) or visiting the Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group Web site for more information.
  • SOS (Signs of Suicide) is a program offered to students on an age-appropriate level to educate them about suicide and how to recognize the signs in their friends and what to do if they do recognize the warning signs in someone. Contact your local school call Kentucky Child Now at 502-227-7722 or visit the Kentucky Child Now Web site for more information.

More information is available on our parent and teen pages about the signs of suicide and the interventions.

Teen Dating Violence Prevention

One in three teens will experience abuse in a dating relationship and two-thirds of them will never report it to anyone. Dating violence is devastating to a young person's health and safety. The effects of dating violence are long-lasting and teens who experience abuse in relationships may act out, exhibiting higher rates of drug abuse, school drop-out, high-risk sexual behavior, acts of violence and suicide.

Everyone has the right to safe and healthy relationships. The Teen Dating Violence Prevention Team is a newly formed partnership in Kentucky working to identifying the resources to educate and enable teens to live free from violence.

Kentucky Stakeholders for HIV, STD and teen pregnancy prevention

People ages 10 to 24 accounted for 13 percet of HIV cases reported in areas with confidential HIV reporting. This is about 22,000 youth in 33 reporting states (2006). 

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates there are approximately 19 million new cases of STDs each year in the United States, almost half of them among young people ages 15-24.

The goal of the Kentucky Stakeholders is to increase the capacity of schools, districts, and communities to promote and support healthy behaviors and choices in school-aged youth and to reduce the health disparities of HIV, STDs and teen pregnancy among this population.  This will be accomplished through collaborative efforts between the Coordinated School Health programs, the HIV prevention team and the AHI section of the Division of Women's Health.

Youth Risk Behavior Survey

Kentucky participates in the CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), conducted every two years to a randomly selected sample of middle and high schools across the state. Students answer questions regarding their participation in risky behavior. All answers are confidential. Areas of interest include sexual risk behavior, alcohol and drug use, injury and violence, tobacco use, nutrition and physical activity. The data is compared to other states at the CDC level and state level. Data is used to note areas of need, effect policies and improve and structure programs on both a national and state level. 


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