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Know The Facts First!

Protect Yourself

The most effective way to prevent STDs and pregnancy is to not have sex. Learn ways to stick with abstinence. But if you decide to have sex, it's important to know how to protect yourself. Having unprotected sex puts you at risk of getting an STD and becoming pregnant. About 1 in 4 teens has an STD, and many do not know it. And, having a child when you're young can be difficult emotionally, physically, and financially. Girls who have a baby in high school are more likely to drop out. Only about half of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by the time they are 22.

The chart below shows the different options to protect yourself against pregnancy. Of all these options, latex condoms are the only method that protect against both pregnancy and STDs. The best way to prevent pregnancy is to use hormonal birth control. Not all of these methods will protect you from STDs. It is important to use dual protection – using a condom in addition to a hormonal form of birth control – to prevent STDs and pregnancy.

Birth Control
[pdf icon 913K]

Pregnancy Prevention

Download and view the following chart for information on popular birth control methods and devices [pdf icon 913K]. Emergency birth control also can help after unprotected sex.

Where do I get facts about how to put on condoms?

For condoms to be effective, they must be put on in the proper way. To make sure you are protected, there's no reason you can't buy a male condom and give it to your partner, in case he didn't buy one. There also are female condoms to help prevent STDs.

Only buy condoms made of latex or polyurethane (plastic). Do not buy condoms containing lubricants with spermicide called nonoxynol-9 (N-9) as they may cause skin irritation or tiny abrasions that make the genital skin more susceptible to STDs. It's important to remember that baby oil, Vaseline®, hand creams, and Crisco are all oil-based lubricants that can break down latex and put you at risk for STDs. The products that work best to lubricate condoms are water soluble lubricants like K-Y Jelly®, Glide®, Aqualube®, most contraceptive jellies, saliva, or even water.

Where can I get condoms?

One of the first steps in using a condom is finding out where to buy it. The good news is that you don't need a prescription to buy condoms, which means you don't have to visit a doctor for them. You can easily get a female or male condom at drug stores, family planning clinics, grocery stores, pharmacies, health departments, and student health clinics. Health departments and clinics may offer condoms at low cost or even for free. The next time you're at your local grocery store, try to find the section where condoms are sold.

Where can I get a pregnancy test?

If you are concerned about pregnancy, there are two types of tests that you should know about: blood tests and urine tests. You can visit your doctor to get a blood or urine test that can find a hormone, hCG, that is found only in pregnant women. You also can perform a urine test using a home pregnancy test to find the same hormone. Home pregnancy tests can be bought at most drugstores, and are usually not expensive. Using one of these tests can help you know for sure whether you are pregnant.

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