Puberty is a natural part of growing up. It comes with changes like starting our periods, which is our bodies way of saying that it’s able to fall pregnant.
Another natural thing that we all experience is being attracted to someone special. This leads us to the next topic. Sex. When you think that you are ready for sex, it has to be a decision you make for yourself, and not because you feel pressured by anyone.
However, with sex comes the risk of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and pregnancy. This is why it’s important to use protection, especially condoms as they can help to prevent infections and pregnancy. But what if you don’t want to use condoms? They really are the best way of protecting yourself so we recommend this is what you use but there are some other ways you can prevent pregnancy too. It’s even better if you use condoms as well as these other methods!
First, you need to know each other's HIV and STI status. Wait three months before having sex, as it can take 3 months for HIV to show up in a test.
Then you can go on the pill or get the injection, which are available for free at public clinics and hospitals. The pill and injection work by preventing ovulation. This means that your eggs will not be fertilised by sperm, but you won’t be protected from STDs. There are different types of pills and injections, and for each option to work as effectively, it needs to be used as directed by a nurse, pharmacist or doctor and they are not 100% effective, so it is recommended that you continue using a condom to prevent infections and pregnancy.
Let’s recap: the decision to start having sex should be made by you. You must know how to protect yourself from sexual infections, including HIV, and unwanted pregnancy. The best way to do this is by talking to a nurse or doctor, who will be able to advise on the best birth control option for your needs.
And remember: using the pill or injection only prevents pregnancy, so you can still get infected with sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. This is why it’s recommended that you use condoms.
Why does this matter? So you can make an informed decision, that’s right for you.