Sexual Health in Teens
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Sexual Health in Teens

Sheffield : United Kingdom | Dec 19, 2010 at 3:10 AM PST
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What Is an STD?

Your body changes dramatically during your teen years - thanks (or rather, no thanks!) to puberty. If you're a guy, your voice will change, you will start growing facial hair, your penis will get longer and wider, and you may even become more muscular. Girls may become curvier and develop breasts. If you haven't already, you will soon experience your first menstrual period (which can start anytime between age 8 and 14. Some girls may get their periods sooner than others.)

Along with these physical changes, you will also change sexually. During the teenage years, many teens start sexually experimenting. In fact, did you know that an estimated 46 percent of teenagers between age 15 and 19 have had sexual intercourse at least once? These high statistics make teen sexual health a priority for many healthcare providers.

Teen sexuality comes with many health concerns, including pregnancy, birth control use, and emergency contraception.

The decision to have sex comes with many risks, such as contracting an STD. An estimated 9.1 million teenagers and young adults (between age 15 and 24) contract a sexual transmitted disease and sexual transmitted infection every year.

Despite what you may have heard about STDs or STIs, they can happen to anyone who is sexually active. The only 100 percent way that you will not contract these diseases is through abstinence and by avoiding any type of sex - including oral sex!

To protect yourself against STDs and teen pregnancy, try to abstain from having unprotected sex. Be sure to use birth control whenever you have sexual intercourse. Even if you think your boyfriend or partner is clean, he or she can have an STD without any signs of infection.

Oral contraceptives will protect you from pregnancy, if you use it correctly. However, they are not effective in protecting against STDs. Latex condoms make sex safer and they reduce your risk of an STD.

The high rates of STDS, including herpes and genital warts, in the teen years make this an important issue in teen health. If undiagnosed, herpes during pregnancy can lead to neonatal herpes -- a devastating disease that can lead to death in newborns.

Women's Healthcare Topics is here to teach and inform you about Sexual Health in Teens. Remember that education is power! This section features helpful articles on teen sex, sexually transmitted diseases, birth control, and emergency contraception.

We are always updating and adding new content to this section, so come back often to read about the latest in teen sexual health!

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aamir shahzad is based in Rāwalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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