Learn the Most Common STDs — And How to Protect Yourself

Learn the Most Common STDs — And How to Protect Yourself

If you’ve recently had sex, or you’re deciding whether to have sex, you’ve likely thought about sexually transmitted diseases. How common are they? What is the risk to women, and young people in particular? What’s the best way to prevent infection?

What Are the Most Common STDs?

The Centers for Disease Control keeps annual records on the so-called “Big 3” STDs — chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.

Chlamydia was the most commonly reported STD in 2014, with more than 1.4 million cases. More than 350,000 cases of gonorrhea were reported, along with almost 20,000 cases of syphilis. read more

Protecting Yourself from HPV and Cervical Cancer

Protecting Yourself from HPV and Cervical Cancer

Anyone who has ever had sex is at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI), sometimes also called a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

Did you know there’s one STI that actually increases your risk of developing cervical cancer, and other types of cancer?

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common STI in the United States. Most sexually active adults will contract HPV at some point in their lives, and as of 2014, almost 80 million Americans were infected, with about 14 million new infections occurring each year. read more

The Myth of Condom Effectiveness

The Myth of Condom Effectiveness

Like many young people, you’ve likely thought about whether to become sexually active. Perhaps you’ve already had sex.

If so, you may have been given information about condoms or even provided with condoms for free at school or at your doctor’s office.

But just how effective are condoms? Can they keep you from getting pregnant or from getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD)? Let’s take a look at some common myths about condoms and how you can protect yourself.

Myth #1: Condoms are durable. read more

Alcohol and Your Sexual Health

Alcohol and Your Sexual Health

You and your family may enjoy many time-honored traditions for celebrating Christmas and New Year’s. But quite often, our celebrations include alcohol.

As a young woman, you may wonder how alcohol consumption could affect your sexual health and your ability to make healthy sexual decisions.

Let’s take a look at the relationship between drinking alcoholic beverages and risky sexual behaviors that could lead to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or unintended pregnancy.

Alcohol and Sexual Choices read more

What You Need to Know About Surgical Abortion

What You Need to Know About Surgical Abortion

Are you thinking of having an abortion as a possible option for an unplanned pregnancy? If so, you’ll want to gather the complete, accurate information you need to make an informed decision.

The two primary methods of abortion are chemical (or medical) abortion, which ends your pregnancy by taking one or more pills, and surgical abortion.

This article introduces you to two common forms of surgical abortion — vacuum aspiration and dilation and evacuation (D&E) — as well as the many health risks and long-term physical and mental side effects that affect many women who have this type of abortion. read more

What Should You Know About Chemical Abortion?

What Should You Know About Chemical Abortion?

If you’re considering abortion because of an unplanned pregnancy, it is important to gather as much information as possible to make an informed decision.

There are two primary methods of abortion — surgical (induced) abortion or chemical abortion.

In this article, we talk about two different forms of chemical abortion — the abortion pill and the morning after pill — along with the possible health risks for women who choose this type of abortion.

What Is Chemical Abortion?

Often called “medical” abortion, a chemical abortion involves taking pills to carry out the termination.  This method is the early pregnancy alternative to having the baby surgically removed. read more

Am I Pregnant? 14 Early Signs of Pregnancy to Look For

Am I Pregnant? 14 Early Signs of Pregnancy to Look For

If you’ve recently had sex, you may be wondering if you could be pregnant.

From the moment your baby is conceived, your hormonal levels rapidly increase to support the new life that is growing inside of you. Long before any visible changes to the body take place, most women will experience at least some of the 14 symptoms discussed here. The timing, duration, and severity of symptoms can vary. Symptoms can start as soon as the first week after conception, while other women do not notice anything different until four to six weeks later. read more

What You Need to Know about Gonorrhea and Pregnancy

What You Need to Know about Gonorrhea and Pregnancy

What Is Gonorrhea?

Also called “the clap” or “the drip,” gonorrhea is a sexually-transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It grows easily in the mucus membranes of your body, especially in the warm, moist environment of your reproductive tract, urethra, anus, mouth, or throat.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that about 700,000 new cases occur each year, less than half of which are actually reported to health officials. In 2012, 334,826 new cases were reported to the CDC. read more

Chlamydia and Pregnancy – What You Should Know

Chlamydia and Pregnancy – What You Should Know

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. According to the Centers for Disease Control, chlamydia is the most commonly reported bacterial STD in the United States.

Since 1994, it has represented the largest share of all STDs reported to the CDC. In 2013 alone, more than 1.4 million chlamydia infections were reported, but because chlamydia is often asymptomatic, it is estimated that the true number of infections is over 2.8 million. Sexually active women under the age of 25 are at especially high risk. read more