Fighting teen pregnancy in Petersburg - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Fighting teen pregnancy in Petersburg

By Nicole Bell - bio | email                                      

Posted by Terry Alexander - email

POWHATAN, VA (WWBT) - There's a new health clinic in our area, specifically for teenagers. It's called Healthspace and the main goal is to fight teen pregnancy by focusing on prevention and education.

The clinic offers a wide variety of health services - all of its free and visits are confidential. It's an option one teen wishes she had before getting pregnant.

Lareisha Brown is 19 years old. She's eight months pregnant with her first child.

"It was a lot of peer pressure," said Brown.

Teen pregnancy is a growing concern in Petersburg. For years, the city has ranked number one for the highest teen pregnancy rate in the state.

"Some kids are embarrassed or too shy to talk with older adults because they're afraid on how they'll look down on then," said Brown.

To help combat the problem there's a new option for teens. A section of the Petersburg Health Department is now a teen health clinic, called Healthspace.

"They can come in here and receive a solid foundation and education on how to make healthy choices and how to live a healthy lifestyle," said Elizabeth Johnson of Healthspace Teen Clinic.

Teens can come here to address a wide variety of health issues, including body image and nutrition.

"We just want to give teens this opportunity to succeed - to have choices - to make the right choices," Johnson said.

Elizabeth Johnson says the clinic is desperately needed because many teens don't have someone they can have an open discussion with about crucial health issues, such as STD's, menstruation, and contraception. All services are free. All visits are confidential.

"A lot of teens have not gotten to the point where they can have and honest and open discussion with their parents," Johnson said.

Brown is encouraging her peers to use the clinic. It's an option she plans on taking advantage of until she turns 20. The teen health clinic is open every Tuesday and Thursday. For more information call 862 7600.

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