Celebrate National Adolescent Health Month!

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Happy National Adolescent Health Month! We’re raising awareness about all things adolescent health related, including access to birth control, STI testing and treatment, and teen health confidentiality. You might be wondering what exactly is “adolescent health”? It’s a broad term that includes your sexual and reproductive health, mental health, physical health, and the kind of care that teens like you can access. It’s important that you have the knowledge to help make decisions about your own health, and we’re here to help!
Let’s get started with your sexual and reproductive health rights:
In California, teens have the right to confidential and affordable sexual and reproductive health care. That means that California teens can receive the following services WITHOUT a parent or care-giver being notified, and permission is not required:
·         Birth Control, including emergency contraception - there are many different types of birth control available! It is your choice and right to decide which method of birth control is best for you. Learn more about the different types of birth control here.
·         Prevention, testing and treatment for STIs - The first step to preventing the spread of STIs is getting tested! California teens above the age of 12 are not required to receive parental permission to get tested and treated for STDs, or get the HPV vaccine. Learn more about the different types of STIs and treatments hereFind a clinic near you for testing, treatment, and prevention through the Clinic Finder on TeenSource. 
·         Pregnancy testing and prenatal care - If you feel like you might be pregnant, the best way to know is by getting tested. The earlier you know, the more choices you have to decide what is the best option for you - whether that’s becoming a parent, choosing adoption, or planning an abortion. Learn more about rights for pregnant and parenting teens here.
·         Abortion services - In California, teens can access abortion care without restrictions. Check out this abortion resource page for more information. 
Let’s speak more about teen confidentiality:
It’s important to know your rights as a teen and advocate for yourself! If you need sexual and reproductive health services, you can actually be excused from school to visit your local health clinic to access them. You can do this WITHOUT needing your parents’ or guardians’ permission, and they won’t be notified if you do. By law, your school isn’t required to inform your parents and is required to excuse your absence. If you’re covered under your parent or guardian’s medical insurance plan, remember to speak to your doctor about keeping it private. Learn about your rights here.
Remember: your health matters and it’s necessary to prioritize it!