Know the facts
The decision of whether or not to have sex is a major decision. Before you make a decision, make sure you have all the CORRECT facts. Do your research! If you don’t feel comfortable talking with your parents, then your doctor is a great source for answers. Think about the pros and cons of having sex before you are actually in a situation that requires a decision. This way, you are more likely to make a calculated choice, rather than an impulsive one. It may seem like everyone around you is saying YES to sex, but about ½ of teenagers actually decide to wait. It’s a good idea to think this through and make a decision that is right for you, given your age, maturity, relationship, family, and religious values. When it comes down to it, deciding whether or not to have sex is completely up to you. Whatever your decide, you will have our confidential medical care and support.
You/your partner can get pregnant
Pregnancy is always a possible result of having sex, even if you are safe. If you or your partner becomes pregnant, a baby is a huge responsibility, especially if you are not prepared for it. Even if you decide to terminate the pregnancy, there are health risks and emotional repercussions to take into consideration. Abstinence is the only way to avoid becoming pregnant 100% of the time.
You can contract a disease
Sex comes with the possibility of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. These include herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, syphilis, HIV, and/or HPV. Once again, if you are abstinent you can avoid contracting these diseases.
HPV, or Human Papilloma Virus, is one of the most common sexually transmitted viruses in the United States. This virus can spread through any sexual contact. HPV can cause warts in the throat or genitals. However, even if you do have an HPV infection, you may not experience any symptoms. HPV is diagnosed with a special test performed by your doctor or gynecologist. To protect yourself from contracting this virus, get vaccinated! (see below)
A person who has an HPV infection may not experience immediate effects on their health, but may develop certain types of cancer in the future. The Human Papilloma Virus can be responsible for causing certain types of cancer like cervical and vaginal (in women), anal, and oropharyngeal (mouth and throat). Also, HPV is the cause of warts in the genital and throat areas. The HPV infection itself does not have a cure, but symptoms it causes can be treated. More than half of sexually active men and women are infected with HPV at some time in their lives.
It can be stressful
Sex does not only involve your physical body, but your emotional one. It can affect how you feel about yourself or even your partner. If you are pressured or not ready to have sex you may feel angry, sad, or even hurt. It can be stressful to worry about all the risks, responsibilities, and complications that may come with having sex.
How to be safe
What should I do if I have unprotected sex?
Call your doctor as soon as possible if…
- You have had sex without a condom (even if you or your partner are on birth control medication)
- You had sex and the condom broke
- You are experiencing any signs or symptoms of STDs
- Your partner has been diagnosed with an STD
- You have questions or concerns about if you are taking birth control correctly
- You were pressured into having sex against your will
Preventing pregnancy ASAP after unprotected sex
Girls — you may need a prescription for emergency contraception to help prevent an unwanted pregnancy (this is very time sensitive). Call us immediately. The sooner you call and get the medicine, the more effective it will be. It is worth calling even if it has been a few days, but best to call the day or day after you had unprotected sex.
Check in with your doctor regularly!
If you are a female OR male and have had unprotected sex or are experiencing symptoms of an STD call your doctor IMMEDIATELY to make an appointment
Get tested…If you are having protected sex, you should be tested for STDs at least once a year by your doctor! Even if you are using multiple birth control methods and being extra careful, there is still a risk that you can contract an STD. If you are having sex, you should be tested by your doctor for a variety of diseases. The only way to find out if you have an STD is to see your doctor. He or she may do an exam, take some samples, and may test your blood or urine.
Knowing your test results will eliminate any stressful worrying if you are cleared and if not, many STD’s are easily treatable. More about STD’s
Get vaccinated… The HPV vaccine helps prevent the most common STD in the United States. This vaccination (or shot) is approved for both males and females to prevent HPV. The HPV vaccine is a series of three injections, with a few months between each injection. If administered before contracting the virus, this vaccine helps prevent cervical and vaginal cancer in females, anal cancer, and genital warts in both males and females. Talk to your doctor about this important vaccination at your next visit!
Use multiple birth control methods
Condoms – prevent pregnancy about 90% of the time. Condoms can also help prevent STD’s. Talk to you partner about condoms BEFORE you have sex and familiarize yourself with how to use them. Make it clear that you will not have sex without a condom. Using condoms in ADDITION to birth control is an excellent way to be extra safe! Even if you are on another form of birth control, using condoms every single time you have sex is the ONLY way to prevent STDs.
- Some tips for using condoms
- Pointers on how to talk to your partner about using condoms
Hormonal Methods of Birth Control – this can be 99% effective in preventing pregnancy when used correctly. Talk to your doctor about a birth control prescription if you are interested. Some of the most popular birth control methods are in the form of pills, patches, and injections. REMEMBER: birth control medications do not help prevent STD’s…It is best to use these birth control methods in ADDITION to condoms – it’s unsafe not to use them!
Pill – A birth control pill is a daily pill which changes the hormones in your body in a way that it prevents pregnancy. More information on how it works and possible side effects
Patch – A birth control patch is a sticky adhesive that is applied to your skin for 3 weeks at a time. This patch releases hormones into the bloodstream, helping to prevent pregnancy. This patch can be placed in an area that can be hidden by clothing.
- More information on birth control patches
IUD – IUD stands for Intrauterine Device. An IUD is a small device that is inserted into your uterus and can remain there for up to 5 years. It slowly releases a low dose of progesterone. This thins the uterine lining and increases cervical mucus, making it very difficult for sperm to fertilize an egg. IUDs are 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. Many experts now consider IUDs one of the top choices in birth control for young women. They are reliable, safe, and last a long time. Also you don’t have to remember to take a pill every day!
**Remember! IUDs do not protect against STDs. Make sure you use a condom every time you have sex to prevent STDs.
- More information about IUD’s
Injection – The birth control shot is an injection of progesterone (a hormone that influences pregnancy) once every three months into a muscle in your body. This method is about 97% effective in preventing pregnancy.
- More information about the shot
- Other birth control methods
- Advantages and disadvantages of birth control