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KidsHealth - Teens
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One of the toughest decisions that a lot of teens face is whether to have sex. If people decide to have sex, it means they must also take responsibility to protect themselves from unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

In the United States, the teenage pregnancy rate is higher than in many other countries. Approximately 750,000 teens become pregnant every year and most didn't plan on becoming pregnant. In addition to preventing unplanned pregnancies, people who have sex must protect themselves from STDs. For those having sex, condoms must always be used every time to protect against STDs.

The most effective way to prevent pregnancy and STDs is abstinence. Couples who do decide to have sex can choose from many effective birth control methods.

Check the articles below to learn some important information about different methods of birth control. You may be surprised — some popular ones aren't as effective as people might think.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: August 2013

 
Other Related KidsHealth Articles:
About Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
You've probably heard lots of discouraging news about sexually transmitted diseases. The good news is that STDs can be prevented. Find out how to protect yourself.
Abstinence
Abstinence is the only form of birth control that is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy. Abstinence also protects people against STDs.
Can a Girl Get Pregnant if She Has Sex During Her Period?
Find out what the experts have to say.
Female Reproductive System
Why do girls get periods? What goes on when a girl gets pregnant? What can go wrong with the female reproductive system? Find the answers to these questions and more in this article.
Gyn Checkups
Girls should get their first gynecological checkup between ages 13 and 15. Find out what happens during a yearly gyn visit -- and why most girls don't get internal exams.
Male Reproductive System
What makes up a guy's reproductive system and how does it develop? Can anything go wrong? Find the answers to these questions and more in this article.
Talking to Your Partner About Condoms
Some people - even those who are having sex - are embarrassed by the topic of condoms. Here are some tips for talking about condoms with your partner.
Virginity: A Very Personal Decision
Deciding whether it's right for you to have sex is one of the most important decisions you'll ever have to make. Each person must use his or her own judgment and decide if it's the right time - and the right person.
 
Related Resources:
Adolescent Health Transition Project
This is a health and transition resource for adolescents with special health care needs, chronic illnesses, and physical or developmental disabilities.
American Social Health Association
This nonprofit organization is dedicated to preventing sexually transmitted diseases and offers hotlines for prevention and control of STDs.
GirlsHealth.gov
GirlsHealth.gov, developed by the U.S. Office on Women's Health, offers girls between the ages of 10 and 16 information about growing up, food and fitness, and relationships.
Go Ask Alice!
Go Ask Alice! is Columbia University's health question and answer service. It offers open and frank discussions of sensitive topics.
National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
This site provides teen pregnancy facts, resources, and prevention tips.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Planned Parenthood offers information on sexually transmitted diseases, birth control methods, and other issues of sexual health.
Planned Parenthood Info for Teens
This site from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America has information on relationships and sexual health for teens.