Sex, Pregnancy and STDs

Whether you hear it in your favorite song, in a movie you love, or in a conversation with friends, it seems like we always hear the same thing about sex: “Everyone does it.” But the fact is, having sex is a personal choice. And not everyone chooses to do it.

The decision whether or not to have sex is a sensitive one that we all have to make in our lives. But, if you do decide to have sex, you must know what to do in the moment in order to protect yourself from getting an STD, or getting someone else or yourself pregnant.

The best way to prevent pregnancy is to practice abstinence. You never have to have sex, no matter what your friends, boyfriend or girlfriend, or your favorite movies say. And you should never, ever feel forced to have sex.

Should you choose to be sexually active, contraceptives reduce the chance of pregnancy, and some contraceptives (condoms) reduce the chance of pregnancy and some STDs. Keep in mind that no contraceptive is effective 100% of the time, but you absolutely must use them 100% of the time for them to be effective at all! Always be prepared, and read the links below to get more information about safe sex.

Discovering that you’re pregnant or have an STD can be frightening, embarrassing and scary — but not usually life threatening. With help, you can make it through it. If you think you are pregnant, or just need someone to talk to, contact your local Safe Place program or find a parent, teacher, or adult you trust.

Helpful Links

Check out these websites for more information about sex and pregnancy:

Check out these websites for more information about STDs and the AIDS virus:

American Social Health Association – I Wanna Know


Facts in Brief (Source: Guttmacher Institute):

  • By their 18th birthday, 6 in 10 teenage women and 7 in 10 teenage men have had sexual intercourse.
  • Men spend slightly longer being sexually active before getting married.
  • By their late teenage years, 3 in 4 men and women have had intercourse.
  • More than 2 in 3 of all sexually experienced teens have had 2 or more partners.
  • A sexually active teenager who does not use contraception has a 90% chance of becoming pregnant within a year.
  • Of the approximately 950,000 teenage pregnancies that occur each year, about 3 in 4 are unintended.  Over one quarter of these pregnancies end in abortion

Pregnancy Facts & Statistics (Source: National Campaign to Prevent Teenage Pregnancy):

  • The United States has the highest rates of teen pregnancy and births in the industrialized world.
  • The teen birth rate has declined slowly but steadily from 1991 to 2004 with an overall decline of 33% for those aged 15 to 19.
  • The rates of both Hispanics and blacks remain high relative to other groups.
  • Hispanic teens now have the highest teenage birth rates.
  • The younger a teenage woman is when she has sex for the first time, the more likely she is to have had unwanted or non-voluntary sex.
  • Teen mothers are less likely to complete high school (only 1 in 3 receives a high school diploma).
  • Teen mothers are more likely to end up on welfare; nearly 80% of unmarried teen mothers end up on welfare.
  • The children of teenage mothers have lower birth weights, are more likely to perform poorly in school, and are at greater risk of abuse and neglect.
  • The sons of teen mothers are more likely to end up in prison, and their daughters are more likely to become teen mothers themselves.

Teen Pregnancy Rates in the U.S. (Source: Victor Strasburger, M.D.):

  • One million U.S. teens will become pregnant over the next 12 months.
  • 95% percent of those pregnant are unintended.
  • About 40% of young women become pregnant before they reach 20 years old.
  • The poorer the young woman, the more likely she will become a mother.
  • Less than 25% of births to teens occur within wedlock.

STD Statistics (Source: American Social Health Association):

  • An estimated 1 in 5 people in the U.S. has a STD.
  • Two-thirds of all STDs occur in people 25 years of age or younger.
  • About 1 in 4 new STD infections occur in teenagers.
  • Hepatitis B is 100 times more infectious than HIV.
  • About 1 in 5 Americans have genital herpes, yet 90% of those with herpes are unaware they have it.
  • At least 1 in 4 Americans will contract an STD at some point in their lives.
  • HPV and Chlamydia are the most common STDs in the U.S.

The number of people affected in the U.S.:

  • Chlamydia: 4 million
  • Trichomoniasis (“trich”): 3 million
  • Gonorrhea (“clap”): 1.1 million
  • Genital Warts (HPV): 750,000
  • Genital Herpes:  40 million affected, with as many as 500,000 new cases each year
  • Hepatitis B: 300,000
  • Syphilis: 120,000
  • HIV: 1 million affected, with as many as 45,000 new AIDS cases reported each year
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