Yes! The Teen Health Center provides FREE and CONFIDENTIAL services for those aged 11- 19. We always encourage you to include a trusted adult when making health decisions, however we understand that isn’t possible for everyone.
We can’t legally share your information
There are many laws that protect your rights which prevent us sharing your information without your knowledge.
**Please note: If you inform the staff that you are experiencing some form of violence, or have the intent to harm yourself or others, we are legally responsible to report this information.**
What rights do I have as a minor?
Your health and safety are always our main concern. As a minor under the age of 18, you can receive the following services without parental approval:
- Contraceptive care and counseling
- Pregnancy testing
- Pregnancy options counseling
- STD testing and treatment
- HIV testing
- Substance abuse services
- Labor and delivery services (pregnancy and birth services)
Please note: Abortions do require parental notification. We do not provide abortions or the abortion pill at the Teen Health Center.
What can I buy as a minor?
There are plenty of items you can purchase to protect yourself and your partner against STDs, even if you’re under 18. BONUS: You can get all of the services listed here for FREE at the Teen Health Center. These are totally confidential services!
- Male condoms
- Female condoms
- Emergency contraception (Learn the difference between emergency contraception vs. the abortion pill. The abortion pill cannot be purchased by a minor, and is not available at the Teen Health Center.)
- Pregnancy tests
Interested in finding out more about Teen Health Services and your rights? Check it out!
Condoms are the most common form of birth control used today. They are a great way to prevent unwanted pregnancy and reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
What is a condom?
The male condom (external condom) is usually made of thin latex that can stretch over the penis. Condoms also come in non-latex versions in case you or your partner are allergic to latex. They can come in various flavors, colors and types of lubricant, but condoms that are flavored should only be used for oral sex. Condoms can be lubricated with a spermicide. Spermicide is a chemical that kills sperm (only for vaginal sex). It is suggested to use water-based lube when using condoms.
How do I use a condom?
Condoms are relatively straight-forward to use, but there are some important guidelines to follow to make sure they don’t break or lose effectiveness.
- Storage: Keep condoms in a cool and dark place, like a drawer. Don’t keep your condoms in your wallet or your car! If condoms get too hot, they might break or snap.
- Expiration Date: All condom packages have a date printed on them. Double-check the date before you use a condom, every time. If the expiration date has passed, don’t use it! The condom is no longer safe for protecting you from STDs or pregnancy.
- Opening: To open a condom package, gently tear the top open with your fingers. Don’t use scissors or any other sharp edge—that could puncture the condom.
- Technique: Pinch the tip of the condom before you put it on—this allows space for semen. Then, roll the condom down the penis.
What do condoms protect you from?
Condoms are a cheap and easy birth control that protects you from pregnancy and STDs. Condoms prevent body fluids from mixing. Semen and vaginal fluid are considered bodily fluids. Semen is a fluid that comes out of a penis after orgasm. Vaginal fluid is from the vagina to prepare for sex. Condoms are not 100% effective; there is the possibility of the condom breaking from using it wrong. Condoms also don’t protect against STDs (like herpes and HIV) that are spread from skin to skin contact.
Learn more about condoms:
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or infections (STIs) are passed from one person to another by sexual or genital contact. Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Trichomonas, Herpes, Syphilis, Hepatitis, HIV, HPV, and genital warts are just a few of the more common STIs. Luckily, some are easily cured with medication; others are infections that will be with you the rest of your life.
Who’s at Risk?
Anyone who is sexually active is at risk for STIs … no matter what type of sex you’re having (oral, vaginal or anal). About 50% of people will have an STI before their 25th birthday. Sometimes you may not even know you have a STI because symptoms may be silent. Left untreated, STIs can cause complications later including not being able to have children when you’re ready or other infections.
What Should I Watch For?
Always ask your partner when the last time they were tested and their results. Being open with each other is very important in a relationship. If you notice sores or discharge from your partners genitals it’s best to wait and get tested before you have sex with them. Don’t see anything odd? Use a condom anyway, because there are many STIs that you won’t be able to see with the naked eye. Ideally, getting tested together before having sex for the first time with a new partner is the best idea to be sure you are both disease free. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Symptoms you might want to get checked:
- Burning when you pee
- Vaginal discharge that causes itching, burning or a foul smell
- Sores or bumps on your genitals
- Abdominal pain, fever, chills
- Testicular pain in men
- Bleeding after sex or in between periods in women
I Might Have an STD … What Should I Do?
Get tested! It’s really easy to get tested for an STD, and it’s the only way to know if you have an STI. Visit your local health department or doctor’s office to get tested ASAP if you suspect something. Testing can be as easy as leaving a urine (pee) sample; sometimes a blood test is required depending on the infection. Same day results are available for some STIs, and others have to be sent to a lab for testing and take up to a week to come back. Talk to your doctor or nurse for more information.
Worried about going to the doctor? You can always visit the Teen Health Center instead. We do STD and STI testing for free for all teens and youth aged 19 and under. Your visit and results will always be kept confidential! Call the Teen Health Center to make an appointment today: (478) 238-4276
Is a Vaginal Infection an STI?
Nope, not always! There are two common vaginal infections that are not STIs, yeast and bacterial vaginosis (BV). Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of fungus in the vagina caused by taking antibiotics , washing with scented soaps or wearing pants that may be a little too tight. BV is when too much ‘bad’ bacteria grows in your vagina, changing the normal balance. This can be caused by having sex with a new partner, douching or not using condoms.
Want more information about STIs, their symptoms and how to prevent them? Check out these links:
Youth HIV/AIDs awareness day is April 10, 2017. Knowing your status is an important part of keeping yourself healthy.
- 5 million youth are currently living with HIV/AIDs in the world.
- In the U.S. more than 1.5million people are living with the virus.
- 1 in 8 people don’t even know they have it.
- Every 30 seconds another young person is infected with the virus.
What is HIV/AIDS?
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks your immune system not allowing it to fight off germs if you get sick. If untreated, HIV can worsen and turn into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Symptoms of HIV include feeling tired all the time, running a fever, muscle aches, night sweats and sores in your mouth. These are also symptoms of many other illnesses too. If you experience any of these be sure to talk to your provider to figure out what’s going on.
Who’s at Risk?
Anyone who is sexually active or has regular needle exposure (typically dirty needles from drug use) is at risk for HIV. The virus is only spread through blood, semen, vaginal and rectal fluids and breast milk. Babies can also get HIV is there mother has it already. HIV is not transmitted from kissing, hugging or cuddling with someone who is infected. Those at highest risk are gay men, African Americans and those who use needles to inject drugs. Men who are not circumcised also have a higher risk of getting and transmitting HIV.
How Can I Prevent Getting HIV/AIDs?
There is no vaccine to prevent you from getting HIV. The best way is to prevent getting HIV is to abstain from sex. If you are sexually active be sure to use a lubricated condom (male or female) with all sexual encounters with a partner whose HIV status you don’t know. Avoid having sex with multiple partners. If your partner has HIV talk to your provider about PreP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). This medication can decrease your risk of acquiring HIV from your partner.
The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested, so what are you waiting for?
To learn more about HIV/AIDs, hear stories from those living with the virus or to find out where to get tested click the links below:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Acting Against AIDS
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – HIV Risk