Archive for the ‘News’ Category



Health centers across Pennsylvania to begin offering free tattoos to teens and young adults


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGotcha! While you may not be able to get free tribals and sleeves at our health centers anytime soon, you can get free birth control, STD tests and more at our health centers — and that’s no joke.

That’s pretty awesome itself, because some birth control methods are over 99% effective. If you’re sexually active, birth control can help you delay pregnancy until you’re ready to have a child. That’s better than a free tat, amiright?

And unlike a tattoo that the whole world can see, no one has to know about your visit to a health center. If you don’t want anyone to know about your visit, tell us! We’ll make sure what happens in the health center, stays in the health center; absolutely no forms or letters will be mailed home.

So, what are you waiting for? Find a teen health center near you, and make a free, confidential appointment today! Oh, and Happy April Fools’ Day!




Hookah: Not all it’s puffed up to be


hookahWithin the last couple of years a new trend among high school and college students has been emerging: hookah. Often found in trendy “hookah lounges” with live music, hookahs are water pipes used to smoke flavored tobacco.

I have to admit, I was curious to see what all the hype is about. So mid-way through my senior year, a group of friends and I went to the local hookah lounge to see for ourselves. I told my mom where we were going she replied with a simple, “Have fun. Let me know how it is.”

I was shocked by her reaction. After all, it was only a few months prior that she raised heck after finding a pack of cigarettes in my purse. Why was she so against me smoking a cigarette, yet found it completely acceptable to inhale tobacco as long as it was flavored and with a group of friends?

The truth is, the idea of smoking hookah seems to be tied in with a lot of misconceptions. Perhaps my mother was as blind to these misconceptions as everyone else.

While hookah has been around for centuries, emerging from Persia and India, it only just became a hit in the U.S., fueled by the idea that hookah smoking is safer than cigarettes. In reality, inhaling tobacco from hookah has many of the same health risks as inhaling tobacco from a cigarette. In some cases, it can have even greater risks. In a one-hour hookah session, for example, you can inhale 200 times more smoke than you would from a single cigarette!

Of course, this smoke increases your rates of getting lung and oral cancers, heart disease and other serious illnesses.

In addition, hookah can also lead to the spread of infectious diseases. If hookah pipes aren’t cleaned as efficiently as they should be, germs, such as herpes, can be passed from one mouth to another. Kinda unreal!

Of course, if teens aren’t aware of these health risks, we aren’t going to see anything wrong hookah. And honestly there’s something exciting about spending a few hours with your friends smoking salted caramel tobacco in those trendy little lounges. Regardless, smoking hookah just isn’t safe.




Rusty nails & cancer prevention: HPV vaccine myths and facts


HPV Vaccine Myths and FactsHPV is a really, REALLY common STD. In fact, it’s so common that most people will get it at some point in their lives. While that sounds a bit scary, it’s usually not that big of a deal. Most of the time, your body can fight it off and make it go away on its own. And to help your body out, there’s the HPV vaccine, a shot that protects you against certain, more serious types of HPV.

While a lot of teens get the HPV vaccine, not too many teens know too much about it. Let’s clear up some myths.

Myth #1: It’s only for people who have sex.

Fact: The HPV vaccine works best if it’s given a chance to develop an immune response in your body. That takes time. That’s why it’s recommended for teens and preteens, long before they are even thinking about sex.

Myth #2: It’s just for girls.

Fact: The HPV vaccine is for girls – and guys. A lot of people know that the vaccine can prevent cervical cancer in girls, which is sometimes brought on by HPV. But the truth is, the vaccine can also prevent both girls and guys from getting other HPV-related cancers, such as throat and anal cancers, as well as genital warts, really easy-to-spread skin growths.

Myth #3: It makes you more likely to have sex.

Fact: Some people think the vaccine gives teens the freedom to have sex – or worse, unprotected sex.

“That’s like saying that if you get the tetanus vaccine, you’re more likely to go and step on rusty nails on purpose.”Joyce, 18 years old, Sex, Etc.

In other words, the HPV vaccine is cancer prevention; it doesn’t make you any more or less likely to have sex. Besides, the vaccine protects against certain types of one STD, in this case HPV. It does not protect against others, such as Chlamydia. That’s why it’s a good idea to practice abstinence and safe sex whether you got the vaccine or not.

Myth #4: I don’t need it if I wear condoms.

Fact: Condoms are great at protecting you from STDs like Chlamydia and HIV, but they don’t always protect you from HPV. HPV can be spread through genital-to-genital contact, and condoms and dental dams only cover part of the genitals. (That’s part of the reason why so many people get it!) So you should probably get the HPV vaccine, even if you plan on using condoms.

Most girls and a lot of guys are vaccinated when they are 11 or 12. If you’re not sure if you had the HPV vaccine to prevent cancers and genital warts, ask your parent or doctor about the HPV vaccine. After all, taking care of your health is an important part of being a teen.



Join us at the Adolescent Sexual Health Conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania!


harrisburg-skylinejpg-c6219026bed1040fOn June 23rd and 24th, 2015, SafeTeens will be at Temple University Harrisburg at the 3rd Annual Adolescent Sexual Health Conference.

Educators, youth leaders, social workers, public health professionals, reproductive health practitioners, faith leaders, academicians, students, parents and anyone interested in improving adolescent sexual health are invited to engage in this professional development opportunity.

For more information and to sign up, contact Susan Washinger at or (717) 232-6400.

Interested in Presenting?

Temple University Harrisburg (TUH) invites individuals and organizations with an interest in presenting at the Third Annual Adolescent Sexual Health Conference to submit a proposal for consideration. The conference will provide professional development opportunities for educators and academicians, youth leaders, social workers, faith leaders, public health professionals and reproductive health practitioners.  

We are particularly interested in proposals that address the intersection of technology and sexuality, the impact of positive youth development on sexual health, and innovative adolescent sexual health practices.

Instructions for submitting workshop proposals:

  1. All proposals must be submitted electronically.
  2. Profiles of Presenters: If more than one presenter, a Lead Presenter should be identified as the contact. However, please present the following for all presenters included in the proposal:
    1. Presenter name
    2. Title
    3. Organization
    4. Work address
    5. Work phone number
    6. Cell phone number (for emergency purposes only)
    7. Email
  3. Brief bio for each presenter.
  4. Title of presentation.
  5. Requested time – 60 minutes or 90 minutes
  6. Attendee-based objectives. What knowledge or skills will attendees gain from your presentation?
  7. An outline that details the procedural steps of your presentation, including teaching methodologies employed.
  8. A description of the presentation to be used in the conference program, if accepted.
  9. Audio/visual requirements.
  10. Resume or CV for each presenter. Please note that Master’s level credentials are required to offer Continuing Education for sessions.

Registration and parking fees will be waived for Lead Presenters. Please send proposals to Jen May at

Deadline for submission is February 13, 2015.
Accepted proposals will be notified by March 31, 2015.

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Pregnancy in a hot tub? That’s a thing?!


Water and chlorine may not be able to prevent pregnancy, but condoms and birth control can. You can get condoms and birth control at Pennsylvania’s free, teen-friendly Reproductive Health Centers.