Dealing with STIs and Pregnancy
Talking to your parents about things like suspected STIs or pregnancies can be difficult on many levels. You may feel ashamed because you were not responsible with your sexual behavior. You may feel scared at what will happen if you do have an STI. You may have had an accident like a condom breaking and feel worried that your parents will judge you. While all of these are valid concerns, it is imperative to get help as soon as possible if you suspect you have an STI or are pregnant. Your parents can be an important support system and work to get you the help you need.
As with all of the topics above, do research. Read about symptoms of STIs and pregnancy, research treatment options and find health clinics close to your home. While research is important, it is also important to get help as soon as possible because the sooner you confirm an unwanted pregnancy or STI, the easier it will be to deal with them. Because of this, it's helpful to gather as much information about sexual health as you can before a problem comes up. Talk to your parents as soon as you begin to suspect something is wrong. Once again, share as much information as you want to share with your parents (though with medical professionals, it's important you give them as much detail about the situation as possible). When talking to your parents try using this format; first, tell them what happened and then tell them what you need. For example, "It burns when I go to the bathroom and I think I may have a Sexually Transmitted Infection. Can you drive me to a clinic to get tested?" or "I missed my last period. Can you buy me a pregnancy test and schedule me a doctor's appointment?" Remember that your parents may be scared as well. This is understandable, but if their worries upset you even more or impede their ability to support you, be blunt and tell them if they are being unhelpful. Your parents may even be able to help you themselves. Maybe your father knows all the symptoms of Chlamydia or your mother has a pregnancy test you can use. The focus of this initial discussion with your parents should be getting you what you need to become and stay emotionally and physically healthy.
After you have dealt with the issue, now this is the time to have a more in depth discussion of what happened. If you parents worry that you are not having safe sex, talk about it now. If you don't want to go through this experience again and have questions about how to avoid STIs, now is the time to ask. Remember that you are not alone and resources for teenagers going through these issues do exist. Looking into them will be educational and helpful. It might be helpful to you and your parents if you explain to them what happened and what you plan to do differently in the future. This can be anything from "I forgot to take my birth control pill one day. From now on I will set an alarm to help me remember to take it at the same time every day." to "The girl I was dating didn't tell me she had herpes. Next time I will always ask about my partner's STI status." This will help your parents dispel any worries they may have and allow you to evaluate and learn from the experience.