(Courtesy Photo)

The teen pregnancy rate in Alexandria dropped in 2015 to the lowest rate documented in Health Department records, which go back to 1979.

On Oct. 18, members of the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy gathered at Beatley Central Library for a presentation of the 2015 Alexandria teen pregnancy data from Dr. Tina Singh of the Health Department. Singh reported that there were 96 teen pregnancies reported in Alexandria in 2015, for a total rate of 18.6 per 1000 girls ages 10-19.

This was the first time that the total number of pregnancies was under 100 and represents a 19% decrease from 2014. The drop is part of a downward trend in teen pregnancy rates, especially since 2005, when Alexandria’s pregnancy rate was at 60 per 1,000 girls ages 10-19. In Virginia, the teen pregnancy rate has dropped from 26.5 in 2004 to 12 per 1,000 in 2015.

Sexual behavior has also declined, with 20.6% of students in grades 10 and 12 in Alexandria City Public Schools reporting being currently sexually active, down from 35% in 2011. Those reporting having ever had sex dropped from 49.9% in 2011 to 28.9% in 2016. There was also a drop in students reporting having had sexual intercourse prior to age 13, down from 10.3% in 2011 to 2.9% in 2016.

Key milestones in Alexandria that were followed by significant declines in the rates include the opening of the Adolescent Health Clinic in 1988, the founding of ACAP in 2000, the opening of the Teen Wellness Center at T.C. Williams in 2010 and the introduction of Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives in 2014.