Report: Teen pregnancies in Minnesota declining, STIs rising

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, June 15, 2017

ST. PAUL  — A new report shows the teenage pregnancy rate has plummeted in Minnesota over the last three decades, but that the number of sexually transmitted infections is increasing.

The report, authored by University of Minnesota adolescent sexual health director Jill Farris, found that the pregnancy rate among 15 to 19 year olds has dropped 70 percent since 1990. Farris said Minnesota is ranked one of the best states in the country at preventing teen pregnancy.

However, teen rates of gonorrhea have increased 40 percent and chlamydia is up 15 percent. Fewer teens are using condoms, especially when one partner begins using a long-term method of birth control, Farris said.

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Farris found that teenagers living in metro areas are more at risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection, while those living in Greater Minnesota are more likely to get pregnant.

The study also found that the teen pregnancy rate is slightly increasing among Native Americans.

“(Teen pregnancy) rates among all the other racial and ethnic groups declined, some of them by a lot. To not see the same change in the American Indian community is disheartening,” said Farris. “We want to figure out what’s going on.”

Farris gathered data from the state Department of Health and an annual student survey conducted by the Department of Education.

She said she hopes community leaders will refer to the report when shaping education and local health programs.