Sexual Abstinence

This essay has a total of 2183 words and 7 pages.

Sexual Abstinence


Today's world is full of worries and problems which did not affect teens a generation ago.
New problems keep appearing in today's world, such as STDs, increased pregnancy rates, and
other factors facing teens who choose to have sex. Emotionally and physically teens and
getting less developed before having sex and are not prepared for the serious problems
which come along with their decision to have sex. No longer is it a matter which will just
go away if we ignore it, but teen health and the health of our society depend on choices
which today's teens make regarding sex. With so many diseases and problems facing today's
world, abstinence is the only way to protect ourselves. Abstinence is a safe choice in
preventing the possibility of pregnancy. One-tenth of young women between the ages of 15
and 19 get pregnant every year, 83 percent of these pregnancies are unwanted or unplanned.
Half of the unmarried teens who get pregnant do so within six months of their first sexual
experience. In fact, between 1986 and 1990, teen childbearing increased by 16 percent.
What's worse, pregnant teenagers often don't see a doctor until the time of delivery. The
dangers of going through a pregnancy without seeing a doctor are not only serious to the
mother and child, but may risk the lives of both. "I'm doing the body count at 3 a.m. at
Ben Taub [Hospital]," said Dr. Hunter Hamill, "and I can tell you that most of our (teen
pregnancy prevention) programs aren't working. We have blood on our hands." (Feldman 1).
Without seeing doctors or receiving correct pre-natal care, the risk of complications for
mother and child nearly quadruple. Not only can these complications include still birth,
but may also cause excessive bleeding and hemorrhaging of the mother. According to an
article in America magazine, "The place to begin combating teenage pregnancy is in the
family, not a clinic." (Leone 19). Although parents seem to be afraid to talk to their
children about sex, it is vital to the teens' health. If teens feel their parents are
reluctant to speak about sex, they may feel uncomfortable coming to theur parents with any
problems or concerns about sex. Teens who feel they cannot speak to their parents about
STDs or pregnancy can now speak confidentially with their doctor. Doctors are required to
inform and treat teens with confidentiality if the teen seeks their help. Another serious
problem surrounding teen sexual intercourse is the probability of AIDS and sexually
transmitted diseases (STDs). Each year, three million teens are infected with STDs. Among
14- to 20-year-olds, chlamydia is the most common. It has no obvious symptoms, and can
cause infertility if left untreated. Another common disease is herpes, which causes sores
and painful swelling of the genitals. Its symptoms can be managed, but not cured. Fifteen
percent of all teenage girls carry the virus that causes genital warts, another common
STD. Gonorrhea, not uncommon in teens, is known to cause pelvic pain, discharge, and
painful urination. It may leave its victims sterile. Perhaps even more serious is the
disease Syphilis, which killed famous mobster Al Capone. It causes sores, rashes, brain
and organ damage, and death. It can also harm an unborn child. AIDS (Acquired
Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is a growing danger, and is by far the most serious sexually
transmitted disease. "Kids don't take AIDS seriously," said Dr. James W. Curran. "One
thing they do have is sex. They have sex. They have sex. They have sex." (Ferriss 16) AIDS
is the sixth leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds. Cases among teens have
grown 62 percent in the past two years, and the number of teens with AIDS doubles every 14
months. A fifth of all AIDS victims in this country today are in their twenties, and since
the disease takes two to ten years to develop, those victims contracted it in their
teenage years. Even scarier is that, according to a study of 19 universities, one in 500
college students may carry the AIDS virus. With these frightening statistics, it's easy to
see why many teens are choosing not to have sex. Many bold teenagers think they can
totally avoid pregnancy and STDs by using various forms of contraceptives. However, while
it does lessen the chances of disease and unwanted pregnancy, birth control is not always
dependable. According to Dr. John G. Sholl. the term "safe sex" is a "misleading,
incongruous combination of words." (Ferriss 16) Dr. Sholl is particularly concerned with
the faults of the most popular form of birth control, the condom. "Condoms do leak, and
they do slip off," Dr. Sholl said. (Ferriss 16) Not only that, but STDs and even HIV, the
virus that causes AIDS, have been known to pass through condoms made of lambskin. Believe
it or not, even oral contraceptives (better known as "The Pill") aren't always foolproof.
Although "The Pill" diminishes the chances of pregnancy, it does not offer any protection
against STDs or AIDS. Other medical drawbacks include side effects such as minimal weight
gain, nausea, hypertension, benign liver tumors, and an increased risk of blood clots and
strokes. Recent studies have linked its use with the development of breast cancer. In
smokers, it may also increase the risk of heart attacks. "The Pill" is not cheap; it costs
from $10 to $30 a month, plus doctors' fees. Women who are taking analgesics or
antibiotics should NEVER take oral contraceptives, as those medications can interfere with
"The Pill's effectiveness. All things considered, if today's abstinence programs were
working, "The Pill" wouldn't be necessary, anyway. An older form of birth control, the IUD
Continues for 4 more pages >>




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