According to official figures released by the Ministry of Health, 13.7% of teenagers in Peru are already a mother or currently pregnant, and the average age to start sexual activity is 12 years old.
Carlos Acosta, an officer from the Directorate of People’s Health, explained that these rate have slightly increased compared to the 2004-2006 period, when it was 12.2%.
Acosta also says that the highest rates of teen pregnancies take place in the regions of San Martín, Loreto, Ucayali, Cajamarca and Apurímac, while in Lima, 10 out of 1,000 teenagers get pregnant between ages 12 and 14. Also, the Ministry of Health estimates that 87.7% of the teenagers do not use birth control methods.
Acosta states that the Peruvian society “is conservative” and does not help youngsters to access this kind of information, so the Ministry of Health is analyzing strategies along with the Ministry of Education. The fact that girls usually are taken out of school if they become pregnant also is a cause for concern. They are denied their right to education because the community considers them a poor example to the others.