According to the Pueblo health department some 57 percent of students in Pueblo City Schools between the grades of 6 and 12 are sexually active.
Now a research study is being conducted in order to find out why Pueblo teens are having sex, and what can be done about preventing teen pregnancies.
The study is being paid for with funding from the Pueblo County Department of Social Services and is expected to wrap up in early March.
Now, researchers need participants for the study. They are looking for sexually active teens to talk to them about their reasons for having sex. Teen girls that have become pregnant, as well as those that have not, are welcome to participate. Researchers are also hoping to speak with teen boys as well.
The study is being conducted with full confidentiality, and teens do not have to tell their parents if they are going to participate. The confidentiality of the interview is protected by state law.
Participants in the study will speak to researchers in a focus group format, receive lunch, and get paid cash for their time.
Researchers hope to get 30 to 40 people to participate.
Residents of Pueblo County 13 to 19 years old are asked to participate.
Sarah Ruybalid, Director of Community Health and Services for the Pueblo City-County Health Department says, it's important to conduct the study in order to identify the real reasons for high teen pregnancy rates in Pueblo. "It would be easy to jump to the conclusion that we're just like everywhere else, and try to implement those strategies that would prevent teen pregnancy here. But it might not work," says Ruybalid.
In October 2010, KKTV talked to several teen mothers from Pueblo. They say teen pregnancy has become a socially accepted norm in Pueblo.
According to the health department, 358 teen girls gave birth in Pueblo in 2009. "We hope that by gathering this information the research firm will be able to make some recommendations to our community about what we might do different in education or in training here in our community to reduce the teen pregnancy rate," says Ruybalid.
Teens interested in participating in the study can find contact information on the health department's Facebook page. A link to that page is below