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Dealing With Doctors: Taking Control of Your Health Care Destiny

Taking charge of our own healthcare can be a daunting task, especially if you don't know how to navigate healthcare systems or work with providers. We're demystifying some of that for you, providing a toolbox to help you make sound decisions and get the best care possible.

An Infection Getting Worse and Worse: Can I Just Wait it Out?

Meghan_Hoover asks:

I am 15 and I just had sex for the first time last Friday. It was unprotected but he did not cum. The next morning I had pain. The pain continued through Saturday and Sunday. I thought the pain was from having sex for the first time, but it's now Monday and I realized stinging while I pee, cloudy with some blood in it too, in addition to constantly having to pee and never feeling empty. I have had chills, too. I am almost 100% positive I have a UTI, but there is no way I'm telling my mom and getting medical attention for it, she can't know I had sex. I've read into it in depth, and the more I read the more scared I get. I'm on a vitamin regimen and I am able to get a z-pack, which treats bacterial infections but I'm unsure if it'll help me. Will it? are there anything I can do besides drink water and wait it out? How long will it last untreated? HELP!

The Testing Diaries: Allie

Do you feel anxious about the idea of getting tested for sexually transmitted infections and diseases? Some of our readers certainly do.

Some never had adequate sex-education and did not realize that sexual activity with a partner -- and not just anal or vaginal intercourse -- can pose STI risks in the first place. Some are not sure where to go for testing or how to ask for it. Others feel uncomfortable discussing STIs with a partner or potential partner. We get it: this stuff can be hard, and it is usually not the kind of thing where someone just takes us by the hand and leads us through.

This is why we're doing this series at Scarleteen. In it, some of our volunteers share their own stories of how they deal with different aspects of STI testing and reproductive healthcare.

The health center at my university is pretty awesome.

It provides free STI testing days throughout the year. Instead of making an appointment, students and non-students alike can just walk in, check in, and wait

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After Contraception or Commitment, Why You Still Gotta Rock Safer Sex

We sometimes deal with a tough situation in direct service: a user comes in, and reports having contracted an STI; a user who also isn't a first-time user of our site or services, and who, in a previous conversation with us about pregnancy risks, blew off also talking about STIs and safer sex and turned down help we offered to them to reduce their STI risks, not just pregnancy risks.

When this happens, a person like this will usually be very upset about having contracted an STI, often angry, and even mystified about how this happened to them. Of course, we're rarely mystified and also are not usually surprised this happened, since we already identified risks of STIs when we were talking with them in the past, which is why we brought the importance of safer sex up with them in the first place.

This is one of those things where there's no joy or pride in being right: it stinks to be right about someone getting any kind of illness and being unhappy. Even though the majority of STIs are t

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The Testing Diaries: Jacob

Do you feel anxious about the idea of getting tested for sexually transmitted infections and diseases? Some of our readers certainly do.

Some never had adequate sex-education and did not realize that sexual activity with a partner -- and not just anal or vaginal intercourse -- can pose STI risks in the first place. Some are not sure where to go for testing or how to ask for it. Others feel uncomfortable discussing STIs with a partner or potential partner. We get it: this stuff can be hard, and it is usually not the kind of thing where someone just takes us by the hand and leads us through.

This is why we're doing this series at Scarleteen. In it, some of our volunteers share their own stories of how they deal with different aspects of STI testing and reproductive healthcare.

7:10pm Before the Test:

I was going to be taking my STI test with a friend today, with the idea we would both get tested and I could've written in the style of a comedy bromance movie like "Dude. Where's My Car?"

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The Testing Diaries: Véro

Do you feel anxious about the idea of getting tested for sexually transmitted infections and diseases? Some of our readers certainly do.

Some never had adequate sex-education and did not realize that sexual activity with a partner -- and not just anal or vaginal intercourse -- can pose STI risks in the first place. Some are not sure where to go for testing or how to ask for it. Others feel uncomfortable discussing STIs with a partner or potential partner. We get it: this stuff can be hard, and it is usually not the kind of thing where someone just takes us by the hand and leads us through.

This is why we're doing this new series at Scarleteen's blog. In it, some of Scarleteen's volunteers share their own stories of how they deal with different aspects of STI testing and reproductive healthcare.

This summer, I went to my clinic to see a general practitioner (GP) for an annual check-up.

This clinic is affiliated with a local university so the way it works is a little different than man

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The Testing Diaries: Joey

Do you feel anxious about the idea of getting tested for sexually transmitted infections and diseases? Some of our readers certainly do.

Some never had adequate sex-education and did not realize that sexual activity with a partner -- and not just anal or vaginal intercourse -- can pose STI risks in the first place. Some are not sure where to go for testing or how to ask for it. Others feel uncomfortable discussing STIs with a partner or potential partner. We get it: this stuff can be hard, and it is usually not the kind of thing where someone just takes us by the hand and leads us through.

This is why we're starting this new series at Scarleteen's blog. In it, some of Scarleteen's volunteers will share their own stories of how they deal with different aspects of STI testing and reproductive healthcare.

I was tested for the first time seven years ago, shortly after I had my first sexual experiences. Things did not go according to plan: though I'd insisted on condom use, the person I

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New Study Finds Long-Acting Contraceptives Much More Effective Than Pills (Especially for Those Under 21)

We're posting this across all of our channels, because it's mondo important.

From Reuters, today (bolding, ours):

A large real-life test of birth control methods found more U.S. women got pregnant while using short-acting methods such as pills, patches and vaginal rings — and the failure rate was highest when they were used by women under 21.

In a new study published on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, about 7,500 women and teens in the St. Louis area were allowed to pick from a variety of contraception methods at no cost.

Over the course of the study — more than three years for women who completed all follow-up interviews — participants had a total of 334 unintended pregnancies. For the full study, see: bit.ly/KdMCQp

“We found that participants using oral contraceptive pills, a transdermal patch or a vaginal ring had a risk of contraceptive failure that was 20 times as high as the risk among those using long-acting reversible contraception,” said the research team, l

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Safer Sex: Do Women Sleeping with Women Need It?

absolutelyapple asks:

My girlfriend and I (I'm a chick) are both virgins. Is there any point in us using a dental dam when/if we have oral sex?

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.