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Making Choices Involves Protecting Yourself Print
Written by Karen Farris   

Sharyn
I thought birth control was the answer. I wanted to have sex. I wanted to be loved and feel loved. My boyfriend was curious about...

Mitch
My girlfriend and I have talked about having sex. We could use protection. I know to be really safe, she'd have to...

Erica
It's funny, when I started having sex, all I thought about was how I felt about the boy I was dating right then, not how I'd feel about him when...

 

 
Abstinence and Peer Pressure Print
Written by Karen Farris   
Wouldn't you like your first time to be with someone you're going to spend the rest of your life with? Don't think that you are the only one who is making the decision to wait. Thousands of kids just like you have made the same decision and are waiting for marriage.
Managing sexual feelings and desires is one of the difficult skills that teens have to learn. It's made harder by the different kinds of pressures teens experience--social pressures, internal pressures, and peer pressures.
By Karen Farris
 
Friends, Character & Strength Training Print
Written by Karen Farris   

Who do you enjoy hanging out with? No one really likes being with someone who thinks only of him or herself. Our best friends usually have a personality and character that makes us feel more special. What's inside us affects those we are around.

By Karen Farris

 
Human Papillomavirus Vaccines Print
Written by Karen Farris   

HPV (Human Papillomavirus) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. Currently, 20 million Americans are infected. According to the Centers for Disease Control, at least 50% of men and women will unknowingly have sex with an infected person and will acquire HPV at some point in their lives. HPV is responsible for genital warts in both sexes and 99% of all cervical cancer in women. Presently, the American Cancer Society estimates that in 2005, 10,370 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer and over 3700 women died of the disease.

HPV is complicated. There are approximately 100 sub-types of HPV with 30 that are sexually transmitted. Recently two drug manufacturers have announced a break-through in vaccines to prevent infection of two to four of the sub-types that cause most, but not all cervical cancer. HPV is also a "skin-to-skin" transmitted infection. This means the disease is spread by genital touching, oral sex, in addition to sexual intercourse. The idea of "Safe or Safer" sex has unwittingly led many to become infected with this disease. Once infected, a person will always carry HPV regardless if they are experiencing any symptoms.

The vaccine, which might even be available this year, will help prevent literally thousands of infections for the newly sexually active. The vaccine by Merck targets four sub-types of HPV and will be given to both males and females. The vaccine produced by GlaxoSmithKline will target two sub-types of HPV and will be for females only. The vaccine will be targeted for the 9-12 age group. The vaccine appears to be more effective when it is given at a younger age.

While the news is good for preventing disease and death, it is important to remember:

No vaccine is 100% effective against infection or disease.

With more than 100 sub-types of HPV, this new vaccine protects against, at most, four strains.

The HPV vaccine will not protect against other sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy.

 

By Karen Farris

 
STD Facts Print
Written by Karen Farris   
Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV) Facts:
  • The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes a syndrome called acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS.
  • AIDS  makes it difficult for the body to fight infections.
  • The body tries to defend itself against the HIV virus, but it can't.
  • HIV reproduces itself uniquely.
  • A  person with HIV is contagious for life.
  • While some HIV symptoms can be treated, there is no cure. It is always fatal.
  • While no one dies from HIV, they usually die from another infection or cancer the body couldn't destroy because of a weakened immune system.
  • There are over 50,000 new HIV infections reported every year in the US.
  • In the year 2000, 800,000 people in the US had AIDS.
  • AIDS is the leading cause of death for people ages 25-44.
Genital Herpes Facts:
  • Herpes is a lifelong viral infection with no cure.
  • Herpes causes painful, recurring sores, blisters, or ulcers usually on the genitals.
  • Herpes can show up anywhere on the body.
  • Herpes can make you more susceptible to other infections.
Chlamydia Facts:
  • 85-90% of Chlamydia victims don't realize they are infected.
  • Left untreated 40% of women with Chlamydia develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID.
  • One in five women with PID becomes infertile.
  • Women with Chlamydia are 3-5 times more likely to contract HIV, if exposed.
  • By Karen Farris

 
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