CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News UpdateMINNESOTA: No Fear? Condom Use Drops Among Minnesota Teens: 2013 Could Bring Record High for STDs
By John Michaelson
December 6, 2013
InsightNews recently reported that Minnesota teens are using condoms on a less consistent basis, while state STD rates could hit another record high this year. The most recent data showed that only 61 percent of Minnesota high school seniors used a condom during their last sexual encounter, which is a 2.5-percent drop in the past three years.
Today’s youth no longer consider HIV to be a “death sentence,” which may contribute to their apathy to use condoms on a regular basis, according to Jill Farris, from Teenwise Minnesota, an advocacy group for teenage sexual health. "That kind of has gone away, and so a lot of young people maybe don't really see the problem or the big deal with [sexually transmitted infections.] They think it's something that can be easily treated or managed," she said. "In some ways that's true—but we also know there are some pretty devastating health consequences for young people if they don't get treated." She added that long-lasting birth control may be another reason for the decline in condom use.
STDs hit a record high of more than 21,000 reported cases in Minnesota in 2012. Farris said that many teens may assume they do not have an STD because they have no symptoms. She added that better education is needed to clarify that STDs can still be present and transmittable even in the absence of symptoms. Although condom use has declined and STDs have increased, the Minnesota teen pregnancy rate has decreased.