UVA Teen Center Celebrates 21 Years in Health Service - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

UVA Teen Center Celebrates 21 Years in Health Service

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The Teen Center at the University of Virginia Health System is celebrating 21 years of service Monday. That's 21 years of providing youth healthcare to the community.

They're marking the event with a birthday celebration, and the staff is reflecting on how youth healthcare has changed over the past couple decades.

When the Teen Health Center first opened, there was a high rate of teen pregnancy prompting the center to focus primarily on adolescent reproductive health issues like pregnancy care and gynecology. Since then, they've seen the teen pregnancy rates drop significantly. That's in part because of better contraceptive and awareness about sexual health.

The center now provides a full range of primary health services, like sports physicals, chronic care, and care for basic illnesses.

Dyan Aretakis, a Family Nurse Practitioner and Project Director at the Teen Health Center, says prevention is really key when it comes to helping teens grow into healthy adults.

"When you first become a teenager, you never know how you're going to come out the other side of it, and so we look at that as a time of promise. If we can help kids assume great health habits and avoid risk behaviors, they come through adolescence and they do so well in adulthood," said Aretakis.

The center is also looking toward the future as it prepares to move into the new Battle Building in 2014. That will house children's hospital facilities as well.

Monday's birthday celebration wouldn't be complete without some cake and food. The public will also get the opportunity to meet the staff and take a tour of the facility at the free event. It starts at 4:30 p.m. at the Teen Health Center located at 1400 West Main Street.

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