How Old Was The Youngest Girl On 16 And Pregnant Teenage Pregnancy In Jamaica – The Reasons Behind This Problem

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Teenage Pregnancy In Jamaica – The Reasons Behind This Problem

Jamaica’s teenage pregnancy figures are startling; before the age of 20, approximately 20% of Jamaican women have been pregnant at least once; 48% of men aged 15-19 do not use condoms with their regular sexual partner, while 41% do not use condoms with an irregular partner. Jamaica’s teen pregnancy epidemic is hidden under many layers of denial, ignorance, and social and cultural misinformation.

Jamaica has experienced little economic growth in recent decades, and the little money that comes into the country only goes into the budget deficit. Many programs are suffering, including welfare programs that would normally educate young people about sexuality and pregnancy.

Youth-friendly services are extremely scarce in the country, and unless they are homeschooled, young girls are not educated about contraception that could prevent teenage pregnancy. 60% of women said they do not use condoms with their regular partner and 46% said they do not use it with their casual partner. Boys say they don’t like male condoms, and girls say they don’t even know female condoms exist.

There is more to consider in Jamaica’s teen pregnancy epidemic than social programs and the budget deficit; many people in Jamaica have cultural beliefs that contribute to the problem. Many women see motherhood as a form of status and identity, as well as a way to eradicate any suspicion of infertility. Many Jamaican girls receive mixed information; culturally it seems acceptable to get pregnant, but socially the country has a strong Christian presence that teaches abstinence.

The Christian faith places a sexual taboo on girls and their sexuality, which contributes to the lack of readily available information. This “abstinence only” policy creates the secrecy and therefore ignorance that contributes to teen pregnancy statistics; adolescents are not provided with information about sexuality, adolescence, contraception or intercourse. Because of the taboo, many boys and girls refuse to even buy condoms in their own communities.

Many myths are also present in Jamaican society as a result of the Christian taboo regarding sex and contraception. Many Jamaican girls believe that showering with Pepsi after intercourse or having intercourse in the ocean will prevent pregnancy. All too often, these myths are relied upon in lieu of medical facts and contribute to the nationwide ignorance teens face about teen sex and pregnancy.

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