Puberty is a natural part of growing up. It comes with changes like starting our periods, which is our body's way of saying that it’s able to fall pregnant.
Another natural thing that you may experience is being attracted to someone special, this can be really exciting. 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.
Once you make this decision, you need to think about how to have sex safely. When you do it safely, you can relax and enjoy it more. It's important to use protection, especially condoms, as they can help to prevent unplanned pregnancy and acquire HIV.
But what if you don’t want to use condoms? They really are the best way of enjoying sex safely so we recommend this is what you use but there are some other ways you can prevent unplanned 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 STIs. 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. 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 acquiring STIs, including HIV, and unplannned 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 STIs, 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.