Polk-Norman-Mahnomen Community Health Services emphasizes the importance of Reproductive and Sexual Health Services for our youth. Pregnancy and birth disproportionately impact greater Minnesota, while STIs affect youth regardless of geography.
The 10 counties with the highest teen birth rates are all in greater Minnesota. Despite historic lows, the United States continues to have one of the highest adolescent pregnancy and birth rates among high-income nations.
In rural areas, such as Polk, Norman, and Mahnomen counties, access to confidential, affordable, youth-friendly health care may be limited. There are large geographic disparities in sexual health clinic hours of availability and distance to service. In rural counties of Minnesota, 37% have no sexual health clinic location in the county itself.
According to the Minnesota Adolescent Sexual Health report, although they account for only 6.5% of the population in Minnesota, adolescents age 15-19 accounted for 24% of the chlamydia and 14% of the gonorrhea cases in Minnesota in 2022. Females have a significantly higher rate of chlamydia and gonorrhea compared to males.
In Minnesota, STIs remain at extremely high levels. In 2022, there were 20 new cases of HIV among 15–19-year-olds in Minnesota, this is an 82% increase from 2021. Higher STI rates among young people are likely due to a combination of: biological, behavioral, and cultural factors; barriers to accessing health services such as transportation, cost, and concerns about confidentiality; and peer and media influences.
Getting yourself tested for STIs and using safe and reliable contraception are two of the most important things you can do to protect your health. Testing is quick, simple, and confidential.
Contact Polk County Public Health for information about STIs, birth control options, and affordable clinic services. STI testing is available by appointment and is a confidential, low-to-no-cost service. Please call 218-281-3385 or text 218-280-1117 to make an appointment. No one will be turned away for inability to pay.