• Sexual Health


1. Sexually transmitted diseases are spread through vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
2. Even if a condom is used every single time you have sex, you still are at risk for catching a sexually transmitted disease.
3. You can have an STD, never know it, and pass it on to others.

WHAT IF YOU COULD START OVER?  
So, you’ve already had sex. Maybe you wanted to. Maybe not. Either way, you may now be thinking, “Since I’ve already had sex, it doesn’t matter what I do anymore”. Nothing could be further from the truth.  
CONSIDER THIS
. . . 

CONDOM FACTS:
They can ONLY REDUCE but not eliminate your risk of getting a STI. Yup, you read that right. A condom used every single time can only reduce your exposure to STI's.
STI you say? What are they? You know...you've heard of them, they are also known as HIV, herpes, HPV (genital warts) and chlamydia.
See, the truth is, condoms only cut your risk in half for the most common STIs. 
Now, what if you are not having sex the 'traditional' way? What if your just 'playing around' or 'experimenting'? The fact is that the most common STIs ARE  passed through oral sex.
It gets worse...Did you know it is easier for a young person to catch an STI than someone in their mid-20s...or older? Despite what the current trend is in sex, every interaction of any kind has a consequence.

PREGNANCY FACTS:
Two things NOT 100% effective in pregnancy prevention: condoms AND birth control.
That basically means that the more you have sex, the higher more likely you will get pregnant. It just takes one time and your life will be changed forever. 

EMOTIONS:
Besides STIs and pregnancy, what about your feelings? Sex is a powerful, intimate act. Lately, it has been pretty trendy to use sex on a first date, because you like someone, or because everyone is doing it and you do not want to be left out. Here is the thing, sex is how the body connects deep emotion to the physical body. When you let your body have sex without the  lifetime commitment, you will end up feeling empty. Your heart hurts. We know, we have been there. If you feel regret, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. One study found that 3 out of 4 female teens and more than half of all male teens who started having sex WISH they had waited. 3 OUT OF 4! Sex will not guarantee a longer or closer relationship. Sex can quicly break a relationship and often that means breaking a heart.

TIME FOR A NEW CHOICE:
We know how heavy a mistake can be. We also know how a new day can lead to new choices and NEW FREEDOM.  Let’s start today. One, go see your doctor and be honest. Your doctor is not interested in judging you. Tell your doctor that you’ve had sex and how many partners. Doctors are trained to care for your body and this information will help them. Two, the truth is you are no longer a virgin. Another truth? We are all about second chances! Start today. Make a commitment. You will stop having sex and wait till you are in a lifelong, faithful relationship such as marraige.  This will be hard to keep but we are here to help. Once this decision is made you may face even more pressure but stand strong. We are here to help. Call Choices Pregnancy Center, let us know that you reclaimed your virginity and we will guide you to a church near you, or a youth group where you will find friends that have made the same decision. The BIGGEST lie is to make you feel like you are the only one. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
There is a whole culture of youth and young adults that have this belief. Once you are tapped in you will never want to let it go!

YOUR NEXT STEP:
Tell your friends. Tell them about your decision so they can support you when you ask them to help you keep it. You need to have support in this one, every where you go. Most important, let the people you date know. It will help you find out who cares about you, not just your body.

DATING DO'S:

1. Spend more time in groups and less time alone with a date.
2. Avoid situations that include any use of drugs or alcohol. They can cloud your judgment and numb your ability to stay in control.  
You have taken the first step to a life free of casual sex, changing partners or relationships without commitment. Hollywood says this is how it is supposed to be but it is exhausting and lonely.
 Do you want to try something different? Be open-minded and give waiting a try. You won’t regret it. 
 
 A NEW WAY OF THINKIING:
 Here’s why it matters what you do: every time you have sex, you put yourself at risk. That’s true for both pregnancy and STIs (sexually transmitted infections). And either one can radically change the rest of your life.   That’s why it’s best to hold off on sex for now – so you can be free. Free to pursue a happy, healthy future. But even if you’ve done things you wish you could change, you can still decide to do things differently in the future. It’s ok to start saying “no”.  It’s hard when everyone else seems to be having sex all around you, but in reality there are fewer than you might think.

STI FACTS:

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea infections
The most commonly reported bacterial STD’s in the United States. Often times there are no symptoms present, however, if left untreated these infections can cause serious and permanent health problems in both men and women.

Genital Herpes
Infects one out of five Americans over the age of 12. There is currently no cure for herpes. It can cause painful sores that may come back year after year.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
One of the most common viral STD’s in America. Several studies have shown that nearly half of all sexually active man and women acquire genital HPV infection at some point in their lives. HPV infections can cause genital warts and are linked to cancer of the cervix, mouth, throat, penis and anus.

HIV/AIDS
Has killed nearly half a million Americans. Many people in the United States are living with HIV/AIDS; however not everyone at risk has been tested. That leaves 1 out of 4 people undiagnosed and unaware of the HIV infection.

Check it out for yourself:
Source: www.cdc.gov/std (Center for Disease Control, Division of Sexually Transmitted Diseases Prevention 2004)


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