I don’t remember when I first heard about HIV, it was just sort of always present in my world view. When I was very young, I remember overhearing a woman explain that she had left off training to be a lab technician because she was “scared of catching AIDS.” I remember Ryan White. I remember on the show “Life Goes On“, Chad Lowe’s character wouldn’t kiss Kellie Martin’s character, because he was HIV-positive and worried she would catch it. I remember dark murmurings about people catching HIV from becoming blood brothers. I remember the AIDS quilt getting started. I remember meeting my first HIV-positive person and being surprised at how healthy he looked. I remember virgins going to get tested for HIV before becoming sexually active, just in case. I remember Pedro. (If you haven’t, check out the book this blog title comes from.)
Of course, now we know a lot more about HIV- including how it’s transmitted, and if not how to cure it, at least how to- in many cases- keep AIDS at bay for decades. There is no longer the sense of looming danger we grew up with, tied in with the fascination of sex and the message that only condoms can prevent HIV. HIV has gone from being a death sentence to a chronic disease, and the life expectancy of an HIV-positive person in the U.S. has drastically increased. Read full post »
I was talking with colleagues last week about a recent article that discusses the decline in condom use amongst adolescents and young adults. We were thinking back to our own adolescence in the 1990’s when HIV/AIDS prevention was at it’s peak. The diagnosis of HIV was basically a death sentence as the life saving anti-retroviral drugs we have now weren’t widely available. Everyone was scared. Most people ‘wrapped it up’ if they made the decision to have sex. So what’s changed for teens and young adults? Read full post »
Birth control in medicine is often used not just as a means for preventing pregnancy, but also as a life saving treatment option. For nearly 2/3rds of the teens I prescribe birth control to, we’re using it to help alleviate cramps that keep them home from school, irregular periods that are impossible to plan for, or such heavy bleeding that they’ve required a blood transfusion. Birth control has changed significantly over the past few decades, but one thing remains: it can change a life.
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Tracy Whittaker, BSN, RN
University of Washington School of Nursing
Let’s face it; no one wants to talk about masturbation. It is a taboo topic that may cause you to feel uncomfortable, or embarrassed, or guilty, and talking to teens or parents about it would be mortifying for either party! But masturbating is a common and safe kind of sex play for both women and men that in fact has many health benefits and is largely ignored in the “Birds and the Bees” talk. Read full post »
Celebrities and parents in the US are talking about the MTV Video Music Awards that aired Sunday night. Most of the award show was a fun concert showcasing the latest popular artists like Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry, but there is a performance by one artist that has everyone buzzing: Miley Cyrus. She’s the same young lady who many of my teen patients grew up watching as Hannah Montana and last night she showed America that she wants to be seen as all grown up; an adult woman. Whether she relayed that message in an appropriate way is left up for discussion. The look on the face of Will Smith, who was sitting with his young teen children in audience, showed a parent who would agree with me that her performance was for mature audiences only. Read full post »
We’ve blogged about Plan B, a form of emergency contraception, in the past to discuss what it is and why we feel it should be available over the counter, but there have been some important updates on legislation that we wanted to share.
This was originally scheduled to post on April 8th.. and I’m not sure why it didn’t! Anyway, this is the second part of my post on how parents can talk to their teens about internet pornography. Here are 5 more topics you may want to address during these discussions. See the first part here.
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I started this series on sexually transmitted infections in teens with a post on how to approach the topic of sexual health with your teen. It can be awkward, but it is important that teens have correct information from a source they can trust. As parents, you ARE the most important trusted source of information in your teen’s life! April is actually STD Awareness month, so I thought it would be fitting to end the series this month.
We’ve covered many different STD’s (though not all of them), so now let’s take a moment to talk about syphilis. Read full post »
Teenagers encountering and viewing pornography is not a new phenomenon. When I was 13, my friend found a pornographic movie in her parents’ closet. We watched it with a mixture of fascination and alarm, carefully rewound the videotape to where it had been when it was discovered, and spent the rest of the afternoon giggling about how gross it had been.
A year later, another friend discovered her father’s stash of pornographic magazines, which we read with the same mixture of curiosity and dismay. Most people I know had similar experiences in their adolescence. However, pornography has gone from being something hidden away by some parents, to something available to anyone with an internet connection. Read full post »
I thought Part 7 was my last post in the series, but the media response to the sentencing of the two rapists in the Steubenville case has been so outrageous that I’m going to tack on a postscript here.
One of the first news reports to come out after the conviction was from CNN, and it spent much more time sympathizing with the rapists than the victim- in fact, the victim was not mentioned. You can watch the video here. A concerned Poppy Harlow states, “It was incredibly emotional, incredibly difficult even for an outsider like me, to watch what happened, as these two young men, that had such promising futures, star football players, very good students, literally watched as they believed their life fell apart…” She then goes on to describe said emotion in the courtroom, and the offenders’ sadness. Later on, another reporter asked a legal correspondent, “What’s the lasting effect of two young men being found guilty in juvenile court of rape, essentially?”
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