Teen pregnancy and birth rates in MN at historic lows; STIs rise sharply

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Pregnancy rates among 15- to 19-year-olds in Minnesota are down nearly 70 percent since 1990 and birth rates have followed suit, according to a new report.

 However, the 2017 Minnesota Adolescent Sexual Health Report from the University of Minnesota Healthy Youth Development - Prevention Research Center (HYD - PRC) shows teen rates of gonorrhea are up 40 percent and chlamydia up 15 percent.

 “This report is a testament to the wise and healthy decisions young people are making about their sexual health,” said Jill Farris, director of adolescent sexual health training and education for HYD - PRC.  “Dramatic declines in pregnancy rates among Minnesota’s adolescents, including youth of color, are an encouraging sign. However, pregnancy and birth rates still disproportionately impact youth from communities of color and those in greater Minnesota.”

 Notably, every day in 2015, about nine Minnesota teens became pregnant and seven gave birth. The 10 counties with the highest birth rates were all outside of the metro area with the highest rates found in north central and south central Minnesota.

 However, unlike pregnancy and birth rates, sexually transmitted infections (STI) are more prevalent in the metro area. Even though teens account for just 7 percent of the Minnesota’s population, they account for 28 percent of chlamydia cases and 18 percent of gonorrhea cases.

 “The increasing rates of STIs among Minnesota youth is also concerning,” said Farris. “Youth are talking with their partners more about preventing pregnancy and STIs, yet the rate of condom use is declining. Agencies and adults who work with youth must continue to improve their services to meet the unique needs of Minnesota teens.”  

 The report suggests Minnesota’s current programs and policies inadequately support needs of adolescent parents and their children. It recommends the state address social determinants of health, like education, employment, income, and housing which would help young parents, while improving access to sexual health resources especially for communities of color and teens in greater Minnesota.

 To read the full report, including individualized sections for each of Minnesota’s 87 counties, visit http://z.umn.edu/ashr2017.   

 The results will be discussed in a free webinar, “The State of Adolescent Sexual Health in Minnesota” on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2017 from 10:00 am to 11:30 am CST.  To attend, please register at: http://z.umn.edu/ashr2017webinar

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About The Healthy Youth Development - Prevention Research Center: The Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health is home to the University of Minnesota's Healthy Youth Development - Prevention Research Center (HYD - PRC), one of the premier sites in the country for adolescent health research. At the HYD - PRC researchers are learning about the best practices for providing adolescents with the necessary skills and opportunities to live healthy and meaningful lives. The HYD - PRC is also dedicated to learning and implementing ways to reduce health disparities that exist among Minnesota's young people. The HYD - PRC is part of the Centers for Disease Control-funded PRC network nationwide.

The Academic Health Center is home to the University of Minnesota’s six health professional schools and colleges as well as several health-related centers and institutes. Founded in 1851, the University is one of the oldest and largest land grant institutions in the country. The AHC prepares the new health professionals who improve the health of communities, discover and deliver new treatments and cures, and strengthen the health economy.