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Making the decision to have sex is a complex choice. In school and around friends, it can feel like there’s pressure on you to prove yourself. But before you make a decision to have sex, make sure you think about what’s at risk.
Sex can be risky for your health. When you have sex with someone, you’re in contact with possible germs from their past sexual partners. This may include a sexually transmitted infection (STI), including HIV. In many cases, you can’t tell if someone has an STI unless they tell you. And they may not know they have one. Latex condoms and dental dams can only lower these risks, not fully prevent them.
No birth control gives 100% protection against pregnancy, even when used correctly. If your partner gets pregnant and has a baby as the result of sex with you, it’s a big commitment. You may be legally responsible to financially support the child for 18 years. This may be the case even if you’re not married to the mother. Child support can cost hundreds of dollars a month. In order to pay this support, you’ll likely need to work instead of or in addition to going to college.
Does this sound familiar?
“If I don’t tell her I want to have sex, she’ll think I don’t like her.’’
“I would know if she had an STI.’’
“Having sex just once won’t make a girl pregnant.’’
But this is closer to reality:
“I liked her, but she broke up with me because I kept trying to talk her into sex.’’
“I never knew she had an STI, so now I’m infected, too.’’
“I got her pregnant after sex just one time. I never thought it would happen.’’
Before you make a decision, talk with a trusted adult or healthcare provider about your thoughts. He or she can help you figure out the best choice for you, and help you learn how to stay safe with condoms and other protection if you do have sex.
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