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Sat, April 20

Health officials going all out to promote abstinence

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) is promoting sexual abstinence for teens with a 2003 calendar and an interactive CD called "Sex: A Game Not Worth the Risk."

The department is looking for art and original writing selections to feature in the third annual "Abstinence Until Marriage" creative calendar.

Last year, elementary, middle and high school students – as well as adults – submitted 193 artistic and written entries for consideration. Deadline for entries is April 5.

Entries should go to Cooley Advertising & Public Relations, ADHS Calendar, 45 W. Jefferson Ave., Floor 6, Phoenix AZ 85003.

Several organizations throughout Arizona promote abstinence through classes taught in schools and community centers.

In the tri-city area, the Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Program (TAPP), part of Catholic Social Services, promotes abstinence through a variety of educational programs and services. Citizens may reach Diane DeLong, TAPP program director, at 778-2531, ext. 3414.

"We want students to know that the abstinence lifestyle will prevent pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases," said Sara Rumann with the ADHS Office of Women's and Children's Health. "The calendar is another way to encourage students to express how they view sexual abstinence until marriage."

In the art category, students and adults should submit work that illustrates the message of sexual abstinence until marriage. In the writing category, an essay or poem should offer the abstinence message in 100 words or less.

The abstinence CD features questions involving Britney Spears, Wonderbra, Gucci, Lisa Kudrow, Ricky Martin, Abercrombie & Fitch and GI Joe.

The CD has four game levels in which users answer questions about the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy and popular advertisements, videos and songs that contain sexual references. Players must answer a question correctly to move to following questions.

Tri-city area residents can get their free CD by calling DeLong or 1-888-844-WAIT or by going online to It is available in English and Spanish in both PC and Macintosh versions.

The pregnancy rate for teenagers from 15 to 17 reached a record low in 2000, dropping to 48.1 births per 1,000 girls, down 6.6 percent from 1999 and down 26.5 percent from 1994. Also in 2000, there were 67.6 births for every 1,000 teens aged 15 to 19 in Arizona, the lowest rate since 1950.


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