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Birth Control - Teens and Birth Control

Whether you are male or female, your life can suddenly be changed forever by pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Think for a moment what this would be like for you.

The most dependable way to prevent pregnancy and STI infection is not to have sexual intercourse. This is called abstinence.

If you do not choose abstinence and are sexually active, always be prepared. To protect yourself and your future, think ahead about birth control methods and STI protection. Never have sex without protection. Using condoms will reduce your risk of getting an STI.

Even a single act of sexual intercourse can lead to pregnancy or an STI infection.

Take charge of your health and your future

Even if you plan not to have sex until you're older, take a little time to learn and decide about:

  • Which birth control methods are available.
  • Which birth control methods you know you would be able to count on every time you'd need one.
  • How to use a condom to avoid getting or spreading a sexually transmitted infection, including HIV. (Some STIs can be spread through oral sex as well as through intercourse.) If you are sexually active, male or female, always have a condom with you. Don't ever depend on someone else to have a condom when you need it.
  • How to use a combination of methods for the best protection against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

It may not be easy to talk about sexual activity and birth control, but it is important that you know how to practice safer sex. Hopefully, you have a parent, school or church counselor, or health professional that you feel comfortable talking to. Organizations such as Planned Parenthood are private, confidential resources for learning how to be both sexual and responsible. See the Planned Parenthood website for teens at, or check your telephone listings for the Planned Parenthood office near you.

The best birth control methods for you are those that are easy for you to use (or are already in effect) each time you have intercourse. Follow up regularly with a health professional to make sure that your birth control method is working effectively for you. And if you have any side effects that are making it hard for you to use the method as directed, choose a different method.

If you have a long-term (chronic) illness or a disability, talk to a health professional about which birth control choices are best for you.

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