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home : opinion : letters to the editor May 25, 2016

3/13/2013 11:03:00 AM
Cottonwood-Jackson Health leader explains condom giveaway

Cottonwood-Jackson Health leader explains condom giveaway
As Administrator of the Cottonwood-Jackson Community Health Service I would like to publicly respond to last week's letter from Julienne Antes ("Area parents ought to be angry about teen fair," March 6 Citizen).
Cottonwood-Jackson, a public health agency, is grounded in science and best practice. We use science and best practice to focus on prevention of social problems that have negative consequences and are detrimental to a person's health and welfare.
I would like to present some of the sobering statistics of why condoms and lubricant where provided as a protective means for youth who may be sexually active. The consequences of adolescent sexual activity remain a troubling issue in Cottonwood County, Jackson County and the United States.
Research shows 47.4% of high school students have had sexual intercourse and nearly 15.3% report having had four or more partners during their lives. In 2011, nearly 40% of sexually active high school students had not used a condom during their last sexual intercourse.
These behaviors increase the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Preliminary national data for 2011 indicate there were approximately 31.3 births per 1,000 females 15 to 19 years of age. Estimates suggest that adolescents and young adults account for half of all new STI cases in the U.S. every year.
What follows are rates of pregnancy for females 15 to 19 years old (teen birth rate per 1,000):
• In Minnesota: ('91-'95) 34.8; ('96-'00) 30.8; ('01-'05) 26.9; ('06-'10) 26.1.
• In Cottonwood County: ('91-'95) 37.8; ('96-'00) 31.1; ('01-'05) 26.1; ('06-'10) 33.5.
• In Jackson County: ('91-'95) 25.6; ('96-'00) 27.6; ('01-'05) 14.8; ('06-'10) 20.5.
In closing, if our display and take home brown bags with the contents of condoms and lubricant prevents one future teen pregnancy, or a teen needing to seek medical care due to a sexually transmitted disease, we in public health will have been successful.
  - Patricia A. Stewart
   Community Health

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