Sexual Health

When you are sexually active, pregnancy is usually the greatest concern. You may be afraid of what your parents or partner will do if you become pregnant. You may also be concerned that you will not be able to finish school. While pregnancy is something to be very concerned about, sexually transmitted infections (STIs)are equally worrisome. You are at risk for pregnancy if you have sex around ovulation, but you are at risk for an STI every time you have sex.

Sex and Dating

There are many pros and cons about dating and it all depends on how you approach the relationship. If you feel that you are not ready or interested in having a committed relationship, you may want to postpone dating until you feel you are ready. There is no rush to start dating.

The decision to have sex is a very important one, and there are lots of things to think about. Sexual relationships affect your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Whether you are considering sexual activity, or you have already had sex, there are risks for pregnancy and STIs even when using birth control or condoms. The only sure way to avoid getting a STI or to prevent pregnancy is to practice abstinence. Once you are in a long-term, mutually monogamous and committed relationship with an uninfected partner (in marriage), you will have no reason to worry about getting a STI.

Do you want to talk with someone about your relationship? We are here for you. Please feel free to email us at elginpcc@gmail.com or call 512-285-9955.

 

The Basics

There are now more than a dozen STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) several of which are chronic, life-long infections. In the United States, it is estimated that there are 19 million new
infections each year - over half of these occurring in ages 15-241. Presently over 70 million people in the U.S. are infected or have been infected with a STI or STD (sexually Transmitted Disease)2.

STIs & STDs: What are they?

An STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) is an infection that does not show any physical signs or symptoms. It is contracted from another infected person through sexual activity. It becomes an STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) when symptoms appear. It's important to remember that not all infected people will have signs or symptoms. The problem is that some of these STDs can cause a lot of damage and can be passed to your partner without your knowledge. You do not have to have symptoms to be contagious; you can spread the disease at any time. 

STDs & STIs: Prevention

Did you know that some STIs can be spread through all forms of sex and/or intimate contact (oral sex, outercourse, anal sex, mutual masturbation) ? Condoms are not as effective as most think at preventing the spread of STIs. Using a condom during sex can sometimes reduce the risk for transmitting or contracting certain STIs, but using a condom never elimiated the risk entirely.

Consistent condom use 100% of the time during vaginal sex reduces your risk for:

  • HIV by 85%3
  • Gonorrhea by about 50%4
  • Chlamydia by about 50%5
  • Herpes by about 50%6
  • Syphilis by about 50%7
  • HPV by 50% or less8

Few studies have been done to see whether condoms reduce the risk for STIs, including HIV, during oral or anal sex9.

Abstaining from sexual activity is the only 100% guarantee you have to avoid pregnancy and to avoid contracting a STI. If you feel that you are not ready to have sex, or if you do not want
to put yourself at risk for pregnancy or and STI, then abstinence is your best choice.

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. STD Surveillance 2006. http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats/trends2006.htm#ref1. (Accessed 10/31/08). 2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tracking the Hidden Epidemics: Trends In STDs In The United States, 2000. 3-9The Medical Institute for Sexual Health. The Facts About Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) http://www.medinstitute.org/content.php?name=stifacts. (Accessed 11/19/08).