Teens having more sex and contracting more STDs, but having fewer abortions
Image by Tatiana Craine
The latest state data paints a complicated picture of Minnesota teens' sex lives.
The numbers show that while teens have become more sexually active in recent years, they're having roughly half as many abortions as they did in 2007. But at the same time, chlamydia and gonorrhea rates are up. In fact, in an April post, we noted that 2012 was "a banner year" for chlamydia in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
One explanation for the numbers is increased birth control use. The pill, of course, keeps you from getting pregnant, but won't protect you from a dose of the clap.
According to the Department of Health, there were about 10,700 abortions performed in Minnesota last year, down from just over 11,000 in 2011. That continues a six-year trend in which the number of abortions has consistently dropped.
Teen abortions have fallen more drastically, from 2,137 in 2007 to just 1,229 last year.
"The Minnesota numbers roughly mirror trends across the nation, where the teen birthrate has fallen sharply since 1991 and overall abortion rates have fallen sharply since peaking in the early 1980s," the Star Tribune reports. "A federal study issued last year found that about 60 percent of teenage girls who are sexually active use the most effective forms of contraception, including the pill and the patch, up from fewer than half in the mid-1990s."
The percentage of teens who said they've had sex rose from 46 percent in 2004 to roughly half last year. Judith Kahn, executive director of Teenwise Minnesota, an advocacy group seeking to prevent teen pregnancies, told the Strib that data collected by her organization indicates condom use among high schoolers has remained level or fallen slightly as more teens have become sexually active.
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