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Teen sexuality & safe sex

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Helping you understand safe choices

When you make the decision to have sex with another person, you could be putting the health of your body at risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), formally known as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), as well as pregnancy. Even if you only have sex with one person, you are exposing yourself to all the other people that person has been with. Therefore, the only way to be 100% safe is abstinence, which means to have no sex at all.

If you decide to be sexually active, here are a few guidelines to consider:
    • Limit your sexual activity to one partner who is having sex with only you to reduce exposure to disease-causing organisms.
    • Think twice before beginning sexual relations with a new partner. First, discuss past partners, history of STIs and previous use of drugs.
    • Use condoms made of latex or polyurethane - not natural materials. Polyurethane should only be used if you have a latex allergy.
    • Although not 100% effective, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using latex condoms, with or without spermicides, to help prevent sexual transmission of HIV.
    • For oral sex, help protect your mouth by having your partner use a condom.
    • Women should not douche after intercourse - it does not protect against STIs, could spread an infection further into the reproductive tract and can wash away spermicidal protection.
    • See your Novant Health doctor for regular pap tests, pelvic examinations, and periodic tests for STIs.
    • Be aware of your partner's body - look for signs of a sore, blister, rash or discharge, and check your body frequently for the same signs.