Sex and Reproductive Health

My period's late what do I do?

A: If you think pregnancy might be the cause then there are a number of options to finding out if you are pregnant. The first is to buy a pregnancy test. These can be purchased at:

  • Chemist
  • Supermarkets
  • Community health centre's free with/without counselling

Pregnancy tests are 99% accurate if used according to the instructions on the kit, so make sure you read these first.
You can also visit a health nurse or doctor to have a blood test to confirm if you are pregnant or not...if not then it is still a good idea to have a health check with your doctor.

Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Sometimes, there are no symptoms of a STI. If symptoms are present, they may include:

  • Bumps, sores, or warts near the mouth, anus, penis, or vagina
  • Swelling or redness near the penis or vagina
  • Skin rash with or without pain
  • Painful urination
  • Weight loss, loose stool, night sweats
  • Aches, pains, fever, and chills
  • Yellowing of the skin (jaundice)
  • Discharge from the penis or vagina (vaginal discharge may have an odour)
  • Bleeding from the vagina other than during a monthly period
  • Painful sex
  • Severe itching near the penis or vagina

Safe sex, also known as 'safer sex' involves protecting yourself and your partner from sexually transmitted infections.

Cover up! Use a barrier on any part of your body that might come into contact with your partner's bodily fluids. This means using a latex condom whenever you have any form of intercourse.

Condoms are the best way to avoid contracting and spreading most STIs. Condoms prevent bacteria and viruses found in semen, vaginal fluids and blood from coming into contact with your body.

Use lube with a condom, be sure it's water-based. KY Jelly, Wet and Astroglide are a few types of water-based lube available at your local chemist or supermarket.

I had sex 2 weeks ago and the condom broke how do I know if I'm pregnant?

A: Early diagnosis of pregnancy is really important so women can access information and support. The simplest way for you to check is to do a Home Pregnancy Test.

Get these from:

  • Chemist
  • Supermarket
  • Community health centers – free
  • Youth services – free
  • Hospitals – free
  • Doctors clinic – some bulk bill so free or small cost

How safe do I have to be when I have sex?

A: Sexually transmitted infections, commonly called STIs, are infections that are spread by having sex with someone who has a STI. You can get a sexually transmitted disease from sexual activity that involves the mouth, anus, or vagina.

STIs are serious illnesses that require treatment, regardless of whether or not someone is pregnant. But during pregnancy the mother is not the only one at risk; many STIs can be especially harmful to her and the baby.

STIs include:

  • Herpes
  • Genital warts (caused by human papilloma virus, or HPV)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Chlamydia
  • Syphilis
  • Gonorrhea
  • Trichomoniasis

Some STIs, like HIV/AIDS, cannot be cured and may be deadly.

There may be a number of reasons why your period could be late.

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Exercising excessively
  • Body weight changes
  • Sexual intercourse

Can I get pregnant if my boyfriend comes in the spa and I was in the spa too?

A: If your boyfriend ejaculated whilst in a spa but was not actually having intercourse with you, you cannot get pregnant. Sperm cannot live very long outside of a body. If semen lands outside the vagina or was expelled during masturbation, then the sperm will not live very long. The water is also highly chlorinated and would destroy the sperm almost immediately.

If I had unprotected sex but got my period since, does that mean I can't be pregnant?

A: There have been cases where women continue to have their periods during their whole pregnancy but it is lighter in amount and shorter in time. The only way to find out for sure is to have a urine or blood pregnancy test. It is really important to follow the exact instructions on the pack and usually the test cannot be done until at least 2 weeks after sex. It is also a good idea that if the test is negative to repeat it in about 3 days time just to be sure. If you begin to develop other pregnancy symptoms e.g. sore breasts or morning sickness (see "pregnancy info & choices" ), best idea is to head to the clinic for a proper check up and blood test.

My best friend thinks she's pregnant. She doesn't think she wants to keep the baby what should she do?

A: An unplanned pregnancy can be a confusing time for a young person and the decision about what to do may be difficult and complex.

There are a number of options available to her such as:

  • Parenting – continuing the pregnancy and caring for the child.
  • Abortion (or termination) – a medical or surgical procedure whereby the fetus or embryo is removed or expelled from the uterus.
  • Adoption – a legal process by which a child becomes a member of a new family. Birth parents voluntarily relinquish all their legal rights and responsibilities in relation to their child.
  • Foster care – the child lives with a temporary (foster) family until the young mother feels ready to cope as the primary carer.

The most important thing your friend can do is seek support, which she has in you.

Others may include:

  • Mum/Dad
  • Close reliable friend
  • Other family members father, sisters, brothers, aunty, granny etc
  • School teacher/counsellor
  • Youth service
  • Midwife/Doctor
  • Family Planning
  • Health Centre/Hospital

It is important for your friend to talk to a professional about her pregnancy and the options available to her. It is also important for her not to wait too long, as the options for abortion decrease as the months pass.

Professionals include:

  • A doctor
  • School nurse or counsellor
  • Your local women's health centre
  • Your states Family Planning Service. An example of this is Family Planning Victoria. Tel. 1800 013 952 or (03) 9257 0100
  • Pregnancy Advisory Services
  • Pregnancy Helpline
  • Contraceptive and Counselling Clinic

Medical and health professionals shouldn't be judgmental. Decisions should be private. If someone is not happy with the medical or health professional they're talking to, they can get a second opinion or make a complaint. There's no minimum age for keeping a baby. What matters is the mother's ability to support herself and the baby, and to make sure the baby is safe.

Can I get pregnant on the pill?

A: Yes. A standard pill is effective about 99.5% of the time if it is used absolutely correctly.

Most common problems are:

  • Forgetting to take a pill entirely, particularly in the first few days of the cycle
  • Stomach upset with vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Taking antibiotics or migraine medicine

If either of these things happen to you, check the manufacturer's instructions about doubling up with an alternative contraception for a period of time.

You need to be sure your doctor is aware you're on the pill before prescribing other medicines for you.

Remember during back up time your contraception is only as effective as the back-up method you are using.