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Utah Teen Births Down, But Chlamydia Rates Up

The teen birth rate continues to decline in Utah, but some sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise. That’s according to recently released data on child well-being in the state.

The data comes from KIDS COUNT, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Terry Haven, Deputy Director for Voices for Utah Children, says she sees some positive trends in this year’s child well-being report.

“What we know is that the teen birth rate continues to decline, which is great,” Haven says. “That mirrors what’s happening nationwide across all racial categories." However, she says, sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers are going up.

“Our chlamydia rate continues to rise, which seems kind of odd,” Haven says. “In 2012, we had 98 teens per 10,000 contracted chlamydia compared to only 36 in 2000, so we’ve seen almost skyrocketing cases of chlamydia for those teens.”

Haven says the data doesn’t provide enough information to determine the reasons for these trends, since the survey does not ask teens about their sexual activity. A national KIDS COUNT report comparing states is expected out in July. Last year, Utah slipped in the rankings to 14th in the country for child well-being.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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