Sexual Health

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Teen Questions

What can I do to plan ahead if I'm thinking about having sex on prom night?

Ready for Prom Night?

You are graduating and are excited about attending PROM. It can be an important event in your high school experience – a night to celebrate the transition out of high school.

You may even have a date lined up or other plans with your friends. Have you considered all aspects of that night??

You may be caught up in the romance of the moment like many youth. Perhaps you have even been thinking about having sex to highlight prom night. In the air of excitement many teens make choices that they later regret. Don’t be one of them!!

  • Take control of your sexual health – plan ahead
  • Always negotiate safer sex – talk with your partner before engaging in sex
  • Know your birth control options – find out what birth control method is right for you
  • If you are already sexually active, get a sexual transmitted infection (STI) check-up before having sex with a new partner
  • Always use condoms or barriers for all sexual activity
  • For more informationcontact Simcoe Muskoka Health Unit @ 705-721-7520 and ask for sexual health.

Try the How do I know if I am ready for sex quiz? to see if you are ready to have sex or if you need to take a bit more time. Only you can decide when you are ready, don’t let anyone pressure you. The answers will be different for each person. There is no right time or right age to start, and you always have the right to say “no” even if you have said “yes” before. Remember it can help to talk to a trusted adult (such as a parent or a school counsellor) about your decision.

I am in a good relationship. How do I know if I’m ready for sex?

Good Relationships

 

I have so many questions! Am I in a good relationship? How do I know if I am ready for sex? Where can I get some answers?

Try the Relationship Quiz to see where you are at in your relationship and if there are some things you might want to think about.

If you are feeling good about your relationship and are thinking about sex, it’s important to have all the information you need to make the choice that is right for you.

What is sex?

That’s a big question. Sex can be vaginal, anal or oral. Abstinence is a decision to not have sex.

Try the How do I know if I am ready for sex quiz? to see if you are ready to have sex or if you need to take a bit more time. Only you can decide when you are ready, don’t let anyone pressure you. The answers will be different for each person. There is no right time or right age to start, and you always have the right to say “no” even if you have said “yes” before. Remember it can help to talk to a trusted adult (such as a parent or a school counsellor) about your decision.

If you decide that you are not ready for sex, there are lots of activities that couples can do that don’t involve intercourse, like…

  • holding hands
  • kissing
  • dancing
  • caressing or mutual masturbation

You need to decide which activities you are comfortable with. It’s important that you both agree on your sexual activities and that no one feels pressured.

Sometimes you might feel pressured into something you are not ready for. It might sound like this:

“Come on, everybody’s doing it.”

“If you really love me, you’ll have sex with me.”

“We had sex once before, so what’s the problem now?”

“Come on, have a drink. It will get you in the mood.”

What could you say? You could try something like this:

“Hey, I’m not everybody. I don’t believe everybody is doing it. I think it’s a lot of talk”

“If you love me you’ll respect how I feel and not push me into doing something I’m not ready for.”

Stay Sober – Alcohol and drugs can make it harder to stick to your decision not to have sex.

If you are ready for sexual activity, it’s important to get the facts.

  • Vaginal, anal and oral sex can all put you at risk for a sexually transmitted infections (STI). Protect yourself and your partner. If you or your partner have had sex before, get tested for STIs. Use a condom every time you have sex. Click here for more information about STIs and how to protect yourself.
I want to have protection without my parents knowing. What can I do?

Confidentiality

You can speak confidentially with a public health nurse, and a doctor or nurse practitioner at the health unit to have your questions answered and birth control options discussed and prescribed.  Your parents will not have access to any information that you provide.

To speak to the staff about your questions and call the Sexual Health Clinic at 721-7520 (or 1 877-721-7520) ext 8376.

I think I might be pregnant. I need help. What should I do?

Pregnancy Counseling

It can be very scary if you think you may be pregnant. It is important that you get all the information and support you need. You can book an appointment at the Sexual Health Clinic. At the clinic you can talk with a public health nurse. She can do a pregnancy test if you are 2 or more days late for your period. You may also be able to get a pregnancy test at your family doctor or walk-in clinic. You can also purchase one at a pharmacy.

If The Test is Positive...

An unplanned pregnancy can bring mixed emotions. This can be a very stressful time for you. You will need to carefully consider your choices before making any decisions about your pregnancy. There are three options to consider:

1. becoming a mother
2. adoption
3. abortion

Becoming a mother

If you decide to continue the pregnancy, it is important to get good prenatal care. See your health care provider as soon as possible. A public health nurse at the clinic can give you information about help available to you before and after your baby is born. If you give birth and then change you mind, adoption is still a choice.

Adoption  

Adoption is a choice if you are not ready to become a parent. Good prenatal care is important. See your doctor as soon as possible. The Children’s Aid Society or a private licensed adoption agency can help arrange a legal adoption for you.

A public health nurse can tell you about special homes and agencies that can support you while you are pregnant.

Abortion

Abortion is a choice if you can't continue your pregnancy. Safe, legal abortions are performed in certain clinics or hospitals. A referral may be necessary and can be obtained through your doctor or the Sexual Health Clinic. You can call many clinics yourself to book your apoinment, check the yellow pages under abortion services or contact the Sexual Health Clinic if you need more information.

At the Sexual Health Clinic, a public health nurse can talk with you about all of your options. If you need further information or support she can help. Remember that all your information is confidential.

These questions may help you think about what decision is best for you:

  • What are my own personal beliefs and values about each of these choices?
  • How will having and raising a child affect my plans for the future?
  • Can I afford to financially support a child until he or she is at least 18 years of age?
  • Who do I have to help support me in making my decision and supporting me afterwards?

You must be satisfied that this is the best decision for you at this time.

If The test is negative...

If the reason you thought you might be pregnant was because you had unprotected sex, you may be at risk for sexually transmitted infections. Please call the Sexual Health Clinic to speak with a public health nurse and book an appointment or click here for more information. You can also see you family doctor or go to a walk-in clinic.

Sometimes a pregnancy scare can be an opportunity for you to realize that you need to make some decisions about your sexual health. You can call the Sexual Health Clinic and speak with a public health nurse to discuss birth control options. You can also go to your family doctor for more information.

Help! The condom broke last night. I’ve heard there is a pill to prevent pregnancy. Where can I get it?

Emergency Contraceptive Pill

It's great that you've heard about the Emergency Contraceptive Pill (ECP).

Unlike other forms of contraception, ECP can be used after sex to prevent pregnancy.

You can take the ECP up to five days after unprotected sex, although the
sooner you use it, the better it works.

ECP is available through your doctor, the Sexual Health Clinic or a pharmacy, in most cases there is a cost. Call the Sexual Health Clinic if you have any questions or if you have financial concerns.

Here is what you might expect:

  • After an assessment, you can purchase a low cost emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) from the nurse that you can use right away or when needed. If you have a drug plan, the cost may be covered.
  • Family doctor – can write you a prescription that you can have filled at a pharmacy. If you have a drug plan it may be covered.
  • Walk-in clinic - can write you a prescription that you can have filled at a pharmacy. If you have a drug plan it may be covered.
  • Pharmacy – you can go directly to a pharmacy without a prescription, (call first to make sure your pharmacy offers this service). The pharmacist will do a brief assessment and if you are eligible, can then provide you with ECP. There may be an additional charge for this service.
I am having sex for the first time, and I need birth control. I don't want my parents to know. What should I do?

Birth Control


It’s great that you are talking about your decision with your partner. You might also want to consider talking with your parents, it can be difficult but studies have shown that if parents are aware, teens are better users of birth control… and discussing an unplanned pregnancy would be even harder! If you absolutely feel that you can not talk about this with your parents, consider another trusted adult, perhaps an aunt, neighbour or teacher.

There are many different kinds of birth control. You might already have an idea about what you want to use, or you might want to learn about them all before making your decision.

You can get birth control from your family doctor or at the Sexual Health Clinic. All services at the Sexual Health Clinic are confidential, nobody knows you're coming to the sexual health clinic unless you want them to know — not your family doctor, not your parents, not your friends.

What ever your situation, read on for more information . . .

Here's what you should know about each of the different birth control methods:

Condoms and Spermicides

The male condom fits over a guy’s penis during oral, vaginal or anal intercourse.

The female condom is a thin, soft plastic condom that is placed inside the vagina.

A condom collects sperm and protects both partners from body fluids during sex, it also cuts the risk of sexually transmitted diseases being passed between you and your partner.

How effective are they? What else do you need to know? Find out more…

Birth Control Pill (a.k.a. the Pill)

Birth control pills are artificial forms of female hormones. When you take the pill at the same time every day, a constant level of hormone stops your ovaries from releasing an egg. And when there's no egg, there's no pregnancy.

How effective is it? What else do you need to know?

Find out more…

Depo Provera

"Depo" or the "shot" is a needle that contains the hormone progestin that you get once every 10-13 weeks. Progestin works to stop your ovaries from releasing an egg. And when there's no egg, there's no pregnancy.

Are there side effects? What else do you need to know? Find out more…

Contraceptive Ring

The Ring is a soft, flexible, clear plastic ring that contains estrogen and progestin. It is inserted into the vagina and slowly releases hormones for three weeks. These hormones stop your body from releasing an egg. And when there’s no egg, there’s no pregnancy.

How effective is it? What else do you need to know? Find out more…

The following birth control methods might also be right for you. Have a look ...

Diaphragm

A diaphragm is a latex cup that is inserted into your vagina, and covers your cervix to prevent sperm from entering.
Find out more...

IUD

An IUD is a small, T-shaped device that is inserted by a doctor or nurse practitioner into your uterus. There are different types of IUDs, and they work in different ways.
Find our more...


What about Withdrawal?

Withdrawal… Withdrawal is the removal of the penis during sex, before the ejaculation of sperm or semen. It is commonly called “pulling out.” Withdrawal is not a very reliable or effective method of birth control. It is better than using no method all, but some pre-ejaculate can be left in the vagina, this fluid may contain sperm and could cause pregnancy. Withdrawal does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases and control can be difficult. 

My ex just told me she has an STI. What should I do?

Sexually Transmitted Infections

If you have had unprotected sex or you had a condom break, you may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection. Not everyone has symptoms, but if you've been exposed, you need to be tested.

If you have questions about sexually transmitted infections and don't know where to turn for the answers that you need, we can help. The Sexual Health Clinic at the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit offers information, private counseling and free testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. All information is confidential

HIV testing and counseling are also available, including anonymous testing.

If you think you want an appointment, click here for information about our clinic services (Guys) (Girls)

Want to know more about STIs, symptoms, how they are treated? Read on . . .

What can you tell me about the new HPV vaccine against genital warts?

HPV Vaccine

There are many different types of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)—some cause warts, while other types of HPV have been associated with cancer of the cervix in women, the penis in men as well as cancer of the throat and anus.

HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in Canada and in the world today. Unfortunately most sexually active people who have HPV are unaware that they have it, so the infection is often passed on to partners without even knowing it.

The HPV vaccine can protect against HPV types 16 and 18—which are responsible for about 70 per cent of cervical cancers—as well as types 6 and 11 which cause about 90 per cent of genital warts.

The vaccine is a series of three shots (first shot, second shot two months later, third shot four months after the second).

There is currently a government program that offers the vaccine free of charge to girls in Grade 8 and to any girls who were once eligible for the vaccine and would now like to get it. This includes any girls born in 1994 or later.

The vaccine is recommended for both males and females age 9 to 26. Although the free vaccine program is not open to everyone in these age groups, you can get the vaccine through your health care provider. Drug benefit plans with some insurance companies will cover the cost of the vaccine. The series of 3 needles costs about $400 or $500.

The HPV vaccine does not protect against all types of HPV. Women and men still need to protect themselves against this sexually transmitted infection and regular pap screening is still important for women who are sexually active and are 21 years of age or older.

Follow this link to learn more about how to protect yourself from HPV, the vaccine, and the vaccine program.

Or call the health unit and ask for Sexual Health.

I made an appointment at the health unit's Sexual Health Clinic. What can I expect?

The Sexual Health Clinic Guys

When you first come to the Sexual Health Clinic you will talk with a public health nurse about any questions or concerns you might have. She will also gather information for your record. Your record is confidential and this information is not shared with anyone without your consent.

You will then see either a doctor or a nurse practitioner. If you are concerned about a risk for a sexually transmitted infection (STI), you will be asked to pee in a specimen container. It is important that you have not peed for an hour before the test. Your urine will be sent to a lab for testing for specific types of STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhea. Other types of STI like syphilis, hepatitis B and HIV are tested by taking blood from your arm, this is also sent to the lab. The doctor or nurse practitioner may offer to examine you for any outward signs of infections like HPV (genital warts) or herpes. He or she may also recommend taking a swab of your mouth, anus or any visible sore if needed. It is your decision to have the tests done.

Your test results will take a few weeks to come back. If you need treatment, you are contacted by a public health nurse. You can tell us about the best way to reach you confidentially. You can also call in to ask about your results. Results for HIV testing are not given out over the phone, you will need to book an appointment to review those results.

 

The Sexual Health Clinic Girls 

When you first come to the Sexual Health Clinic you talk with a public health nurse about any questions or concerns you might have. She will gather information for your record. Your record is confidential and this information is not provided to anyone without your consent.

You will then see either a doctor or a nurse practitioner. If you are coming to the Sexual Health Clinic to start on birth control, you will need to have a physical exam. This will involve having your blood pressure taken, a check of your heart and lungs. You may also have a pelvic exam if you have have been sexually active for more than two years.

The Pelvic Exam

The doctor or nurse practitioner will perform a pelvic exam for several reasons:

  • To do a “Pap smear”, a procedure that checks your cervix for abnormal cells
  • To check for sexually transmitted infections or other vaginal infections.
  • To check the size and shape of your uterus and ovaries

Knowing more about what to expect from a pelvic exam can help you to feel more comfortable. You will be asked to undress and be given a paper gown to wear. You will be asked to lie on the examining table with your feet in supports (called stirrups). The doctor or nurse practitioner will insert a small, warmed speculum into your vagina. The speculum is then opened slightly in order to see your cervix (the part of your body that separates the uterus from the vagina) and to check for redness, inflammation or unusual discharge in the vagina, which can be a sign of infection.

During the exam a sample of cells will gently be taken from your cervix with a small instrument that looks like a tiny brush. This procedure is called a Pap smear. You may feel a little pressure or movement but not pain. These samples will be sent to a lab to find out if there are abnormal cells present. Your doctor will also take a sample to check for gonnorhea or chlamydia, using something that looks like a long Q-tip. (Other types of STIs like syphilis, hepatitis B and HIV are tested by taking blood from your arm; this is also sent to the lab).

Next, the doctor or nurse practitioner will need to examine your internal organs (this is called a bimanual exam). She will take out the speculum and insert two gloved fingers gently into your vagina, she can then feel the size, shape and position of your uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. With her other hand she will press gently on your abdomen. You may feel pressure and movement but it should not hurt. The doctor or nurse practitioner may offer to examine you for any outward signs of infections like HPV (genital warts) or herpes . He or she may also recommend taking a swab of your mouth, anus or any visible sore, if needed. It is your decision to have the tests done.

After the exam, your doctor or nurse practitioner will leave the room so that you can get dressed in privacy. She will return to speak with you and provide you with a prescription or any other information you need.

Your test results will take a few weeks to come back. If you need treatment, you are contacted by a public health nurse. You can tell us about the best way to reach you confidentially. You can also call in to ask about your results. Results for HIV testing are not given out over the phone, you will need to book an appointment to review those results.

 

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