birth control and stD prevention options for teens
Teens Rights to Reproductive and Sexual Health Services
What are my rights to birth control, HIV and STD testing, and privacy?
Young people’s access to birth control, confidential visits with a healthcare provider, and HIV and STD testing vary from state to state. Visit www.plannedparenthood.org to find your nearest Planned Parenthood clinic. Or Google your state, county, and/or community name and “Health Department” to find a local health department clinic.
In some states a doctor may have the right to inform your parents of the services they have provided you. Find the law in your state by visiting www.sexetc.org/state
But, clinics that receive a certain type of government funding are required by law to offer confidential services, including HIV and STD testing and prescriptions for birth control, to all young people. Over 4,600 clinics nationwide receive this type of funding. That means that Planned Parenthood clinics, and many state and local health departments, hospitals, community health centers, and independent clinics all offer confidential services. Some services offered by these clinics include:
- Pelvic exams and pap tests
- Safer sex counseling
- Prescriptions for birth control
- Administering Depo-Provera (the shot)
or inserting an IUD
- Counseling about abortion and abortion services
Many clinics offer free or reduced services, and you can pay in cash. If you pay for your bill by using your family’s health insurance, the bill may be sent to your parents and they may see that you have received services.
Some steps to make sure your visit is private are:
- Call the clinic or healthcare provider before you go to learn what their policies are.
- Tell the clinic staff how to contact you personally without your parents’ knowledge.
- Ask about reduced pricing, and pay in cash.
Can I get emergency contraception (aka “EC” or “the morning after pill”)?
You can take EC to prevent pregnancy after unprotected or unwanted sex. There are several types of EC products available.
Plan B One-Step® contains a strong dose of the same hormones in regular birth control pills. It is available on pharmacy shelves and can be purchased by women or men, with no ID or age requirement.
Plan B works best 12 hours after sex but can work up to three days after sex.
ellaOne® has a different active ingredient than other EC products. It works up to five days after unprotected sex or sexual assault and requires a prescription from a health care provider.
How can I get a pregnancy test?
You do not need a prescription from a health care provider to get a pregnancy test. You can purchase a pregnancy test from a drugstore, grocery store, or online. They cost between $10 and $18. You can also get a pregnancy test at a clinic.
Where can I get condoms?
You can get condoms for free at most clinics but you can also purchase them at any drug store regardless of how old you are. Condoms cost between $5-$20 per box.
How can I talk about condoms and contraception with my partner?
It can be hard to talk to a partner about condoms and contraception. But unprotected sex puts you both at risk. Here are a few tips to make the conversation a success:
Know what you want and don’t want. Don’t engage in any sexual behavior that makes you uncomfortable, but always protect yourself. Remember, the more you engage in safer sex practices, the less your risk of STIs and pregnancy.
Discuss abstinence, sex, and safer Sex. Be honest about your sexual history and your sexual health. Discuss and make mutual decisions on your safer sex options. Go together to get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Educate yourself about safer sex options and make sure you are prepared to discuss them.
State what you want, and don’t want, clearly. Don’t be afraid! You have the right to protect yourself and to state your needs. If your partner doesn’t respond in a supportive way, then think about the relationship as a whole and if your partner respects and cares about you. No one should ever ask you to compromise your health and well-being!
Advocates for Youth
Established in 1980 as the Center for Population Options, Advocates for Youth champions efforts to help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health. Advocates believes it can best serve the field by boldly advocating for a more positive and realistic approach to adolescent sexual health.
Advocates for Youth Copyright 2010
Advocates for Youth shall not be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, or any other damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.