The decision to become sexually active is an important decision that often takes time and thought. Sometimes it just happens and before you know it you have had sex. In both instances there are a few important factors you need to keep in mind.

1 You have to be sexually responsible.
Being sexually active carry some serious health risks. You need to know what these risks are and you have to make plans to protect yourself against them.
So what are these risks?
1.1 You can contract certain very serious illnesses. These include a variety of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and HPV.
1.2 You can fall pregnant.
1.3 Your heart can be broken and you can experience rejection from the partner. You might learn that he has many sexual partners and that he is not reliable or faithful.

2 So how do I protect myself against these risks?
2.1 Discuss your decision to have sex or become sexually active with an adult. This can be your mom, an aunt or a teacher at school. Choose somebody you feel comfortable with and trust to be honest and not judgmental. Ask this person all your questions and make sure you have enough information to help you to make an informed decision around your sexual behavior.
2.2 Attend your local clinic or see your doctor and ask them to provide you with an appropriate, reliable contraceptive. The morning after pill or emergency contraceptive is not an appropriate reliable contraceptive. It is for emergencies and not for long-term use! You need to use a contraceptive that you find to be easy to use with little or no side effects. Be committed to use your contraceptive as prescribed. A contraceptive in the drawer is of no use and to be late for your appointment for your next injection also does not protect you. Be diligent!
2.3 Learn how a condom works and how to put it on. Boys or men do not always know how to put a condom on properly and if you want to protect yourself you need to make sure they use it correctly. This way you can make sure that the condom will be effective and will protect you. This is your life. You need to make decisions that are to your advantage.
2.4 Be sexually assertive! Remember that the condom is always to protect you against sexually transmitted infections and it is not an effective contraceptive! Also learn to say “NO”! If the guy does not want to use a condom, you have to be able to tell him that you will not have sex with him. If he wants to have sex with you he has to use a condom.

REMEMBER: Always use a contraceptive and a condom when you have sex! The contraceptive will protect you against pregnancy but not against infections. You have to use both.