You and Your Sexual Health

While it may be uncomfortable to ask your partner if they have an STI, you should be on the lookout for symptoms. If you notice your partner is experiencing any symptoms of STIs, it is a good idea to ask them about it. Remember that STI’s often show no symptoms, so the only way to be sure is to ask.

It’s always a good idea to use a condom. Condoms will protect you from most STIs being transmitted during intercourse, but if your partner has oral herpes, for example, you can still become infected if you kiss.

Only condoms can protect you from certain STIs and pregnancy if used properly, but are not 100% effective.

Different STI Symptoms

If you would like further information regarding any of the STIs listed, feel free to visit any of these sources provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Emergency Birth Control

Emergency contraception (EC) is birth control used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. Women sometimes seek emergency contraception if they didn’t use birth control, if their birth control failed (like if the condom broke), or if they were sexually assaulted.

Learn more about birth control using this link:

Plan B One-Step pill/Next Choice should be taken as soon as possible within five days after unprotected sex. If you are under 17 you need a prescription for these pills. If you are over 17, you will need to ask for them because they may be kept behind the pharmacy counter.

Ella requires a prescription, regardless of age. Ella is effective for up to five days.

Paraguard IUD can also be used as a form of emergency contraception.

Play the following game to learn more about your sexual health.

You Have Choices

Pregnancy can happen in so many different situations, planned or unplanned. You have choices when it comes to your pregnancy and the most important one is whether or not you want to have a baby right now.

If you do: You should start taking prenatal vitamins and eating healthy so your child is born healthy. Make an appointment with an Obstetrician as soon as possible.

If you don’t: There are multiple options if you don’t want a baby or can’t support a child right now. This includes abortion and adoption.

Know Your Resources

Planned Parenthood is a great resource for all kinds of health issues, particularly regarding sexual health, relationships, and positive body image. With Medicaid, you can go to Planned Parenthood for birth control and annual well-woman exams — covered for free, without a copay — even if Planned Parenthood is not included as an in-network provider in your Medicaid plan.

If you ever need to talk, please call either of these numbers:

Planned Parenthood National Hotline


Exhale After-Abortion Hotline


Planned Parenthood

Gynecologists aren’t just for pregnancy.

You should have your first Gynecologist visit before age 15. The first visit may just be a talk between you and your doctor to get to know each other and to find out what to expect at future visits. Make sure you keep track of your menstrual cycle prior to your appointment.

It is normal to feel nervous about your visit. There is no need to feel scared or embarrassed. If you are nervous, talk to someone you trust about it. Your doctor may ask a lot of questions about you and your family. Some of these questions may seem personal. Your doctor needs to ask them to best know how to care for you and keep you healthy.

General Tests can include:

  • General Physical Exam
  • Breast Exam
  • Papanicolaou (Pap) Exam
  • Pelvic Exam (won’t perform unless there’s a problem)

This is a good time to ask your doctor any questions you might have. Don’t be embarrassed. This is a chance to get answers.

Copyright © 2015 by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center through the work of Sarah Beal and Mary Greiner. All rights reserved. This website and any portion thereof may not be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher.

The contents of this website, including words, graphics and other materials (“Contents”) is a recitation of general scientific principles, intended for broad and general physician understanding and knowledge and is offered solely for educational and informational purposes as an academic service of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (“CCHMC”). The information should in no way be considered as offering medical advice for a particular patient or as constituting medical consultation services, either formal or informal. While the Content may be consulted for guidance, it is not intended for use as a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nothing in this Content pertains to any specific patient and the dissemination of such general information does not in any way establish a physician-patient relationship nor should the information be considered, or used, as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. Content users must use their independent judgment in determining the value and use of the information contained herein and its application to a situation. CCHMC expressly disclaims any decision-making authority or supervisory control over the recipient. The Content does not constitute either an explicit or implicit consent or contract by any physician or other employee of CCHMC to create a physician-patient relationship and such information in no way creates, substitutes or in any way consists of examination, diagnosis, treatment or the prescription of treatment for any patient. No information provided in the website shall create a warranty of any type nor shall any person rely on any such information or advice. CCHMC assumes no duty to correct or update the content of the website or solve or clarify any inconsistent information that may be a part of the content. Publication of information or reference to the website made by any source in relation to specific products, procedures, physicians, treatments, or diagnoses are for informational purposes only and are not endorsements of CCHMC.