Your Sexual Health

A key ingredient to your Sexual Integrity Plan is making sexual choices that will keep you a healthy and whole person. Sexual decisions you make throughout your life will either positively or negatively affect your life.

If you have chosen to be sexually active or you are considering the possibility of becoming sexually active, you need to investigate the risks and rewards of your activity.

Here are some important facts that you need to know:

  • One of our three sexually active females becomes pregnant at least once by the age of 20. #1
  • There are approximately 19 million new sexually transmitted infections occurring each year, with approximately ½ occurring to individuals 15-25 years old. #2
  • Teens who abstain from sexual activity tend to have higher self-esteem, better grades, low rates of depression, and lower risk of suicide. #3

References

#1 National Coalition to Prevent Teen Pregnancy 2009
#2 Center for Disease Control 2007
#3 The Heritage Foundation 2005
#4 www.optionline.org
#5 www.abbapregnancychoice.org
#6 www.bethany.org
#7 www.optionline.org
#8 www.abbapregnancychoice.org
#9 www.medinstitute.org

In voluntary compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), ABBA has developed a notice for patients, which provides a clear explanation of privacy rights and practices as it relates to private health information. This notice of privacy practices is available at ABBA offices for individuals so requesting.

  

Take time to take a closer look…

Pregnancy

Being sexual active in a monogamous and committed relationship such as marriage can eliminate or reduce the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy. In a marriage, a father and mother looking at the prospect of having a baby- even in an unplanned pregnancy- can be a time of great joy and fulfillment.

Facing an unplanned pregnancy alone or without a committed marriage partner can be a frightening and confusing experience- one that can require heavy decisions. Very often these decisions made in a crisis mode may result in a life long series of consequences.

Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, a woman must first determine if she will allow the pregnancy to go to term resulting in a living baby or to terminate the pregnancy through abortion resulting in a dead baby. Women who contemplate abortion need to know the facts of the abortion procedures, whether medical or surgical, and to be fully aware of potential risks to their bodies now and in the future. (I.E. bleeding, infection, damage to organs, increased risk of pre-term birth for future pregnancies, potential breast cancer etc.) Many women experience very strong and negative emotional consequences of an abortion experience. #4

Assuming a woman decides to carry to term her pregnancy, she then faces the choices of whether to parent or to develop an adoption plan for her baby. Single parenting is a difficult path but can be accomplished with good support and education on parenting skills. #5 Adoption planning is a courageous, caring choice in which the mother makes the decision to release her little one to a loving family who will legally become the parents to her child. #6

You also need to know about the “morning–after pill”. The following is info supplied from the website www.optionline.org #7 of which ABBA, A Women’s Resource Center is a member. #8

Need to know about the morning-after pill?

What is the morning-after pill?

The morning-after pill is a common form of emergency contraception. Your body and your health are important, so take time to make the best decision. Emergency contraception is any type of birth control used after unprotected intercourse or a known or suspected contraceptive failure (e.g. a broken condom) to attempt to prevent pregnancy.

Is Plan B® Effective?

Plan B® is reported to reduce the chance of pregnancy by 60-94%, depending on which study is considered. It is important to note that these figures are based on estimates of when ovulation may have occurred and not on actual pregnancy rates.

How is Plan B® Administered?

It is administered in two tablets: the first must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex and the second 12 hours after the first tablet.

Is Plan B® One-Step Effective?

One study conducted by Plan B® One-Step found that 84% of expected pregnancies were prevented. The makers of the drug claim that 7 out of 8 women who would have gotten pregnant, did not. These figures are based on estimates of when ovulation might have occurred.

How is Plan B® One-Step Administered?

Plan B® One-Step is administered in one tablet and must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex.

Should I take the morning-after pill?

Many times women panic after having unprotected sex and rush to take the morning-after pill (Plan B One Step® or Next Choice®). However, you can only become pregnant on certain days of the month — around the time that you ovulate. Taking the morning-after pill during a time when you cannot become pregnant needlessly exposes you to large doses of hormones.

If you are already pregnant from an earlier sexual encounter, taking the morning-after pill is of no value and may cause harm. To find out if you are pregnant, contact us, and we’ll connect you with a caring, qualified pregnancy center near you.

Can the morning-after pill really cause an abortion?

That depends upon how you define “life.” Some believe that pregnancy does not begin until a fertilized egg implants in the womb. However, the scientific reality is that at conception, many defining features are determined such as gender, eye and hair color and growth begins. That’s why many believe that conception is the starting point of a new human life. Taking Plan B® after the sperm has fertilized the egg may prevent this new life from settling into the womb (implantation) and continuing to grow, which is why many consider it an early abortion.

Does the morning-after pill have side effects and risks?

Like any medication, the incidence of risks and side effects is variable. Plan B® and Plan B One-Step® and Next Choice® are associated with the following side effects: nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue, headache, heavier menstrual bleeding and dizziness.

Forms of the morning-after pill that contain the hormone estrogen carry the potential risks associated with that drug. These include: blood clots, stroke and heart attack.

There is some evidence that the morning-after pill may put a woman at increased risk for an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy occurring outside the uterus). Symptoms of ectopic pregnancy are similar to the potential side effects associated with the use of the morning-after pill. It is critical that anyone experiencing these symptoms be evaluated by a physician, as an ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening.

What is unknown about the morning-after pill?

There is much that is unknown about the drug, such as:

  • its effect on women 16 and under
  • its effects when interacting with other drugs
  • its effects on women with medical conditions
  • its effects on women’s ovulation and future fertility
  • its effects on fetal growth and development
  • the effects of its long-term, routine use

Remember, your body and health are important, so take time to make the best decision. Please contact us to get more information.

Generic versions of the morning-after pill are available and are presumed to work similarly to name brands.

STD’s/STI’s

Information on this section was complied from The Medical Institute for Sexual Health #9

Every year nearly 9 million people under the age of 25 get a new STI (sexually transmitted infection)/STD (sexually transmitted disease). Some of these can cause symptoms- other don’t. If you‘ve had sex- of any kind- you could get an STI/STD. You could have one and not even know it…yet!

Some STD’s/STI’s are bacterial which may be treatable and/or cured. Others are viral for which there is no cure. All STD’s/STI’s have the potential for very serious implications to your sexual health now and in your future. (I.E. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, pain or discharge from the vagina or penis, infecting future babies born to you,infertitlity,cancer,warts,liver,brain and heart damage, blindness, death etc.)

Here is a list of known STI’s/STD’s:

  • Chlamydia
  • Genital Herpes
  • Gonorrhea
  • HumanPapillomvirus (HPV)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Syphilis
  • Trichomoniasis

To assess your risks, you can take a free interactive online tool based on the Center for Disease Control’s STD Treatment Guidelines. This tool allows the user to analyze the risks for STD’s/STI’s based on demographics and behaviors; and, it recommends tests and vaccines based on the responses given. These recommendations can be used to start a discussion with your healthcare provider about your risks and the tests you may need. The STD Wizard is available in English and in Spanish. To access this tool go to www.medinstitute.org/SexualHealth Info/STD Wizard.

FOR FREE LIMITED TESTING AND TREATMENT OF STD'S/STI'S IN THE
PORTLAND/CUMBERLAND COUNTY AREA CALL 207-253-5555 or text 207-200-5746.

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