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REPORT: STDs Hit All-Time High for Sixth-Year in a Row 

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The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says the annual cases of sexually transmitted diseases have climbed to an all-time high for the sixth year in a row.

What We Know:

  • A 2019 STD Surveillance Report on Tuesday, April 13th, found that there were more than 2.5 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis reported across the United States in 2019. That’s nearly a 30 percent increase in reportable STDs from 2015 to 2019. 
  • Those primarily affected by STDs are consistently racial and ethnic minority groups, gay and bisexual men, and young people. The report features a statistic that demonstrates how Black people were 5-8 times more likely to contract an STD than non-Hispanic White people. On top of that, cases of congenital syphilis or syphilis found in newborns nearly quadrupled in the last 4 years.
  • Raul Romaguera, acting director for the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, stated, “Less than 20 years ago, gonorrhea rates in the U.S. were at historic lows, syphilis was close to elimination, and advances in chlamydia diagnostics made it easier to detect infectionsThat progress has since unraveled, and our STD defenses are down. We must prioritize and focus our efforts to regain this lost ground and control the spread of STDs.”
  • Since the COVID-19 pandemic has stretched resources and healthcare workers, the CDC is proposing new innovative techniques to prioritize STD testing. Their plans include walk-in STD express clinics, partnerships with pharmacies & retail health clinics to provide on-site treatment, and increasing telehealth appointments.

The CDC says while people with STD infections do not always experience symptoms, it is important to be tested regularly. If STDs remain untreated, people can potentially see an increase in the risk of HIV infection, chronic pelvic pain, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, severe pregnancy, and newborn complications or infant death. 

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Headlines

Instagram Launches Test Where Users Can Choose to See — Or Not See — Likes

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The photo-sharing social media site announced the latest test following mixed reactions to previous experiments where the feature was removed.

What We Know:

  • On Wednesday, the Facebook-owned site launched a limited global test where users were given the option to hide like counts on other people’s posts or their own. NBC reported the test is a follow-up to previous efforts by the company to remove likes.
  • Likes are commonly used to measure engagement on a post, but sometimes this gets equated as a measure of popularity. According to a Facebook spokesperson, the company began testing the feature in 2019.
  • In a statement, the spokesperson said the test was done to see if removing likes lessened the pressure users experience when posting. “Some people found this beneficial but some still wanted to see like counts so they could track what’s popular,” said the spokesperson.
  • Last month, Instagram conducted a small test where likes were removed for some users. The test accidentally was expanded to include larger numbers of users, prompting many to express their disapproval for the removal of likes. Some found the change positive for mental health. Others pointed out how professional “influencers” are reliant on likes to measure their engagement.

  • The last major feature that was added to Instagram was Reels. The feature consists of 15-second multi-clip videos designed to capitalize on and compete with the success of rival site TikTok.

The users involved in the test can still privately view their own like count. The company did not indicate how many people tested the new feature other than to say it was a small percentage of global users.

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Business

Old Navy to Add Pockets to Girls Jeans After 1st Grader Writes Letter

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A first-grader named Kamryn Gardner noticed her jeans had fake pockets stitched in them and addressed the brand directly in a letter.

What We Know:

  • Gardner attended Evening Star Elementary school and was initially assigned the task of writing a persuasive letter as a school assignment. Gardner decided to address Old Navy in regards to her frustration with the brand not designing pockets for girl’s jeans. She included reasons why she hopes the company will add useful pockets to their current design. The letter was sent to Old Navy’s kid’s team, who commented they would be seriously committed to considering Gardner’s input on future products. Gardner and her family appeared on the Today show on Thursday to talk about their experience with Old Navy.

Gardner’s father commented, “We’re very proud of her. She is a persuasive person. She loves to talk, she’s always excited.”

  • His daughter expressed that she also just wanted a place to keep her hand warm as well as have a convenient place to stash small toys and natural treasures. Gardner’s school also posted the letters from their student and Old Navy to their Facebook page. The post garnered the attention of hundreds of people.
  • Gardner’s mother, Kim Gardner, also teaches at the school. The first-grader originally decided to write her concerns in a letter to Old Navy back in January. Kim revealed that Kamryn always periodically expressed dissatisfaction with her jeans. Kim convinced her daughter that it would be a good life lesson to send a handwritten letter to Old Navy about her problem.
  • Gardner was sent two pairs of denim pants and two pairs of shorts as a sign from the retailer that they appreciate her feedback. The products she received all had real pockets sewn onto them. She was more than excited to reveal what Old Navy had sent her during her class’s show-and-tell day.

Old Navy spokeswoman Sandy Goldberg has since stated that although Old Navy already carries a variety of girls’ pants with pockets, the company will keep Kamryn’s request in mind as more styles are developed.

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Utah Fathers Now Legally Required to Pay Half of Pregnancy Costs

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Gov. Spencer Cox at Southern Utah University in March. (Photo: Utah governor's office/Facebook)

Biological fathers in Utah will be legally required to pay half of a woman’s out-of-pocket pregnancy costs.

What We Know:

  • Critics argue that the new legislation won’t help the women most vulnerable and make abusive situations worse. The new law is unique to the state, and critics say it doesn’t adequately address maternal health care needs. The new measure was presented as an effort to decrease the burden of pregnancy on women and increase responsibility for men who have children. Utah’s Planned Parenthood association notes that it is the first state in the United States to mandate prenatal child support.
  • Republicans Governor Spencer Cox and Representative Brady Brammer both support the proposal. Specifically, Bammer is sponsoring the legislation because he’d grown frustrated with the number of anti-abortion measures passing recently.

“We want to help people and actually be pro-life in how we do it as opposed to anti-abortion,” Bammer commented on the matter.

  • The bill will apply to pregnant woman’s health insurance premiums and any pregnancy-related medical costs. The father in question will not be required to pay until paternity is established. Additionally, the father won’t be financially responsible for the cost of abortion received without his consent unless it’s necessary to prevent the death of the mother or if the pregnancy was the result of rape.
  • Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Katrina Baker believes there are better ways to help women, like expanding Medicaid. Mothers in Utah already have the option to seek support related to birth expenses through the courts, but few of them actually do.
  • According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, the average cost of raising a child is $233,610 for a middle-income family. Data from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, about 324,00 pregnant women are abused each year in the United States. The Utah bill is not intended to lower the frequency of abortions, but Bammer believes it could be a potential result. The new legislation comes after recent restrictions on Utah abortions.

The new restrictions would make it a felony for doctors to perform the procedure on pregnant women.

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