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CDC Backs Long-Term Birth Control For Teens

Contreleurope via CC

New Mexico still had the highest teen pregnancy rate in the U.S. last year, but the good news is that it’s declining—here and in the rest of the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a recommendation this week for how to drop the rate even further.

  The CDC reports that most teens—four in five—used some form birth control the last time they had sex, but less than 5 percent are using the most effective methods. Long-term but reversible implants and IUDs decrease a woman’s chance of getting pregnant and could put a dent in the nation’s teen pregnancy rate.

Dr. Lisa Romero, a health scientist with the CDC, said those types of birth control are safe for teens, easy to use and highly effective. "Less than 1 percent of users will become pregnant compared to birth control pills and condoms, which are two of the methods most commonly used by teens."

Romero said young people the CDC surveyed are not aware of these contraception methods, and they don’t know that they’re safe. Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance should help cut the high upfront costs that come with long-acting birth control. IUDs and implants are not more risky for teenagers, she added, and they can be provided confidentially through clinics. 

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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