- September 5, 2012
- Jennifer Salerno
Many of the consequences of adolescent sexual intercourse, such as unintended pregnancy and STI infections, occur because of lack of condom use or other methods of birth control.
Did you know?
- – Approximately 25% of teen females and 18% of teen males use no method of contraception at first intercourse.
- – Furthermore, 39% of currently sexually active high school students did not use a condom during their last sexual intercourse.
- – Among females ages 14-19, one in four (26%) either has HPF, Chlamydia, HSV-2 infection, or trichomoniasis, with HPV accounting for the vast majority of infections.
- – Additionally, 34% of young women become pregnant at least once before they reach age 20.
These actions have serious health consequences for adolescents. Despite the decline in teen pregnancy rates over the past decade, the U.S. continues to have one of the highest teen pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates in the developed world.
Youth should be educated on the best ways to ensure they do not get an STI. Many youth may not be aware that many people with a sexually transmitted infection don’t even know that they have it.
Try these messages with youth:
– You should be tested at least once a year. Schedule an appointment for STI testing if you have had sex and haven’t been tested within the last 3 months.
– Using protection is part of having sex. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Talking with your partner about using protection is the best way to make sure you are both on the same page. It shows that you respect your partner and want to protect each other.
– However, just because you talk about using protection doesn’t mean you have to have sex. It just means that you care about yourself and are in control of what happens to your body.
– There are lots of different kinds of birth control, so talk to your health care provider about which may be best for you. If you are able, talk to your parent or trusted adult about scheduling your appointment.
Resources for Youth:
– Bedsider is an online birth control support network for women 18-29 operated by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a private non-profit organization.
– The Get Yourself Tested (GYT) campaign is a youthful, empowering social movement to reduce the spread of STIs among young people through information; open communication with partners, health care providers, and parents; and testing and treatment as needed.
– CDC National AIDS/Sexually Transmitted Disease Hotline: 800-342-2437
– National STD Hotline: 800-227-8922