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!!
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
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.
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…
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.
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.
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
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
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 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:
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.
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
Here is what you might expect:
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
shown that if parents are aware, teens are better users of birth
discussing an unplanned pregnancy would be even harder! If you
you can not talk about this with your parents, consider another trusted
perhaps an aunt, neighbour or teacher.
There are many different kinds of birth control. You might already have
about what you want to use, or you might want to learn about them all
can get birth control from your family doctor or at the Sexual Health
services at the Sexual Health Clinic are confidential, nobody knows
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:
The male condom fits over a guy’s penis during oral, vaginal or
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 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" 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
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
How effective is it? What else do you need to know? Find out
The following birth control methods might also be right for you. Have a look
A diaphragm is a latex cup that is inserted into your vagina,
and covers your cervix
to prevent sperm from entering.
Find out more...
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
Find our more...
What about Withdrawal?
Withdrawal… Withdrawal is the removal of the penis during sex, before
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
using no method all, but some pre-ejaculate can be left in the vagina,
fluid may contain sperm and could cause pregnancy. Withdrawal does not
sexually transmitted diseases and control can be difficult.
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 . . .
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.
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.
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
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:
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.