Abstinence is the only 100% effective way to avoid an unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. Abstinence is a personal decision to refrain from all sexual intercourse: vaginal, anal, or oral. You may think that everyone is having sex, but that is not true. Fewer than one-half of high school students have had sex, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
The decision about whether to have sex is a very important one and can often be quite difficult to make. It may surprise you to know that, when it comes to sex, most teens and parents agree that the first priority for teens is to wait to have sex in order to protect their physical and emotional health.
But it is also true that the majority of teens and parents feel that if a young person is going to be sexually active, using contraception – “protection'” – is a must.
How do I protect myself?
Whether you call it contraception, birth control, or protection, it’s all the same thing. If you have decided to have sex, you need to know the facts about protecting yourself from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Sex has consequences. A sexually active teen who does not use contraception has a 90 percent chance of pregnancy within one year.
Reproductive Health Centers located throughout Pennsylvania provide services that are always confidential and non-judgmental, and free to teens under age 18, including:
- Education on the various methods of birth control, including abstinence
- Free or low cost contraceptive products
- Access to Emergency Contraception (the morning after pill)
- Pregnancy testing
- Complete gynecological exams
- Breast and cervical cancer screening
- Human sexuality education
- Referrals to other healthcare professionals
Additionally, many centers test for and treat sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
How do I find a Reproductive Health Center?
Click here to find the center nearest you, or call 1-866-SAFETEENS to get the address, phone number and hours of operation of your local Reproductive Health Center.