Before You Go Back to School, Protect Yourself!

By Joe

This post is part of the Office on Women’s Health’s Know The Facts First campaign’s Back-to-School Blog Relay which will run from August 8 – 12, 2016. Follow the relay for STD and STD prevention information and resources to make sure you’re armed with the facts before school starts!

It’s that time again! We're all getting ready to head back to school but before we get all glammed up for the first day, there are some important facts we need to address. It's important for everyone - even if you aren't ready for sex yet - to get in the know about birth control and STD prevention.  There are plenty of resources right just have to take advantage and get properly informed instead of relying on your friends to tell you what's up. Asking your friends is great but to be safe you'll want to have reliable information on hand, just in case your friends aren’t 100% accurate. (There is a LOT of misinformation out there!)

Thinking About Birth Control? You should KNOW about the IUD and the implant! 

Who wants to remember to take a pill everyday? Birth control doesn't have to be a hassle. You should get in the know about the IUD and implant! 

An IUD is a long-term, reversible method of birth control. They come in the form of a tiny “t” shaped plastic device, about the size of a quarter, which works by changing the lining of the uterus so that sperm can't make their way to an egg to cause pregnancy. 

There are 4 types of IUDs: ParaGard, which has no hormones AND Mirena; Skyla; and Liletta which have a small amount of the hormone Progestin. IUDs are over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy and can be left in place for several years of effective birth control! 

The implant is a long-term, reversible method of birth control. It comes in the form of a  tiny plastic rod about the size of a matchstick that releases hormones to prevent pregnancy for up to 3 years. Implants are also over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy! You can learn about other birth control methods here.

Thinking About Sex (Or Sex With Someone New?) You Should Get Tested for STDs!

Did you know the most common sign that you have an STD is NO SIGN AT ALL? That's right, many STDs don't show sypmptoms, so the only way you know if you or your partner has one, is by getting tested. 

Getting tested is EASY...there is no excuse not to. You can find a teen-friendly clinic near you using this clinic finder or by texting "CLINIC" and your zip code to 877877. Plus, as a teen in California, you have the right to access free or low-cost sexual and reproductive health care.  If you don’t have insurance and can’t pay on your own then California’s family planning program, Family PACT, provides minors with coverage for pregnancy tests, prescription birth control, STD testing and treatment (if you are 12 and over), and counseling. You can learn more about accessing affordable services like STD testing and birth control here. 

So...with school around the corner, you know what to do. Take control of your health before the hectic school year gets in the way! 

This wraps up the Know The Facts First Back-to-School Blog Relay! Missed the other blog posts from the relay? Check them out at Girlology and MissHeard Magazine