I WANT TO START HAVING SEX. HOW DO I PROTECT MYSELF?
The decision to become sexually active is an important decision in the life of a teenager. The idea can be very exciting, maybe even a bit scary. If you are in love you can be all excited about ”giving yourself” to the man or boy you love.
Unfortunately having sex is an adult decision and it comes with adult responsibilities! This means that it is not all fun and pleasure but there are also risks involved. Most of them are serious risks.
These risks include the following:
1 If you are still a teenager the partner is not married to you and there is no long-term commitment between you. This immediately puts you at risk of having your heart broken. Yes he tells you he loves you and you believe him but there are no guarantees.
2 Sometimes you just want to have sex to have fun and there are no emotions involved. If you have sex just for fun it puts you at risk for high-risk sexual behavior.
3 High risk sexual behavior carries a number of serious health risks. These risks include the following:
3.1 Sexually transmitted infections.
These infections are transmitted from one sexual partner to the other through sexual contact. 3.1.1 During sexual contact the mucus from one partner is transferred to the other partner and unless the one partner has small ulcers or blisters, or maybe a discharge, it is impossible to know that your partner is infected with a sexually transmitted infection. You will sometimes notice, at a later stage, that you have little sores on your genitals, swollen glands or maybe a discharge from the vagina or penis. If this happens, have already been infected.
Sexually transmitted infections have serious long-term implications. It can make you infertile, cause miscarriages, harm your baby or make you more vulnerable to contract HIV or HPV infection.
HIV and HPV are both virus infections and you will not know for many years that you are infected unless you have a HIV or HPV test. There is no cure for virus infections but transmission for both of them can be prevented if you are more careful during sexual contact.
3.1.2 HIV/AIDS is a very serious problem in South Africa as a large portion of our population is already infected with HIV. The most vulnerable group in our country to be infected with HIV is young girls and women and they have to be particularly vigilant to protect themselves against being infected with the virus. It is just SO important to never have sex with a man, under any circumstance without a condom unless you know his HIV status. And “No” you do not ask him what his status is! Both of you go to the clinic to be tested so you can personally see if he is HIV positive or negative.
3.1.3 HPV or Human Papilloma Virus is another virus that is transferred during sexual contact. This virus can cause warts on the genitals or cervical cancer. It is one of the few viruses that can cause cancer. Cervical cancer is a common cancer among women but is can be prevented and cured. There are two ways to prevent cervical cancer. The first is to be inoculated against the virus and the second is to always have sex with a condom. Women who are sexually active should also have a special test, called a pap smear, where cells from the cervix are examined and if there are abnormal cells that can be removed before it develops into full-blown cancer.
3.2 Unplanned pregnancy
What is teenage pregnancy? An unplanned, unwanted pregnancy could be a disaster in any woman’s life! It has serious implications for your life, your family, your partner and his family as well as for the unborn baby.