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On World AIDS Day, New Mexico activists say more money is needed for prevention; ND farmers still navigate corporate land-ownership policy maze; Unpaid caregivers in ME receive limited financial grants.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Israel to protect civilians amid Gaza truce talks, New York Rep. George Santos defends himself as his expected expulsion looms and CDC director warns about respiratory illness as flu season begins.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

MN Teen Pregnancy, Birth Rates Fall to Historic Lows

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Friday, April 25, 2014   

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Some good news from a just-released report from Teenwise Minnesota, showing the teen pregnancy and birth rates in the state have fallen to historic lows.

Jill Farris, Teenwise’s director of Training and Education, says the rates were at their peaks in the early 1990s, but have been dropping steadily since.

"The pregnancy rate has declined about 58 percent in that time period and adolescent birth rates have gone down in that time period about 50 percent,” she says. “So, we're really encouraged by the progress that we've seen over the last couple of decades."

Farris attributes the declines to more young people using effective contraception and using it regularly, along with a growing number of teens who are waiting longer to become sexually active.

Farris says another positive from the report is that the chlamydia rate for teens fell between 2012 and 2013, the first such decline among that age group in 15 years.

"It is important to know, though, that overall the rate has gone up about 50 percent in the last decade,” she adds. “So, we're encouraged that it has gone down for one year, but at the same time we will be watching the numbers closely to see if this is kind of an aberration, or if it continues in a downward trajectory."

And while some may view the issue of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and teen pregnancy as one mainly for the Twin Cities, Farris notes young people are affected throughout the state.

"And in fact, the highest rates of pregnancy and birth that we see are actually not in the Metro area,” she points out. “They're all in rural Minnesota counties.

“Similarly, with chlamydia and gonorrhea rates, we certainly do see a lot of counties in Greater Minnesota that are affected and have really high rates among young people."

The entire 2014 Minnesota Adolescent Sexual Health report is available online at the Teenwise Minnesota website.





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