Everywhere we look – magazines, movies, TV, video games, comic books, and even cartoons – intimacy and intercourse are portrayed without commitment, and without consequence. First Choice is here to proclaim that there are very good reasons for waiting until marriage to have any type of sexual activity – protecting your physical health being one of the big ones.
The Creating Positive Relationships program
is helping young people in our community gain a better understanding of how abstinence impacts both the physical and emotional health of a relationship. Here are five reasons to wait that are specific to the physical health of our youth:
1. To avoid pregnancy until marriage
- Nearly 750,000 teen pregnancies are reported each year in the U.S.
- Nearly 200,000 of these teen pregnancies end in abortion annually.
- Over 80% of fathers do not marry the teen mother of their baby.
2. To avoid sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- In the 1970’s two STDs were common, and both were curable. Today more than 25 STDs have been identified, and several are incurable.
- Incurable STDs include genital herpes and human papilloma virus (HPV). There are strains of HPV that cause genital warts and cancer of the reproductive system in both males and females, as well as a specific throat cancer.
- One of the more well known, and incurable, STD’s is the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Almost 46,000 teens and young adults in the U.S. are currently living with HIV.
- Genital herpes, HPV, and syphilis can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, thus, prophylactics do not fully protect against the transmission of these diseases.
- A staggering estimate of 9.1 million teens and young adults are infected annually with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) – that’s about half of all new STI cases reported each year. HPV is the most common, followed by Trichomoniasis and Chlamydia.
- About 1 million women in the U.S. develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can lead to infertility or an increased chance of an ectopic pregnancy – a dangerous life-threatening condition. PID is a possible long-term complication of an untreated STI.
3. To avoid death by fatal STDs
- AIDS causes more than 17,000 deaths annually in the U.S.
- HPV is the cause of nearly all cervical cancer. More than 11.000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and approximately 4,000 women will die from it annually.
4. Because you cannot tell who has an STD
- Symptoms of an STD may not appear for months, or even years. Therefore many infected people do not realize they are transmitting it to their partner.
- It is estimated that 10% of all teenage girls have chlamydia. Sadly, most don’t even know it because 75% of these young women do not exhibit any symptoms of the STI.
5. Abstinence is the ONLY 100% reliable method of avoiding sexual risks.
- No birth control method, not even condoms, will guarantee safety from pregnancy or disease. Every method has a failure rate. In lab tests, condoms fail 3% of the time. In actual use, studies show that first-year condom users experience a 15% failure rate.