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I AM in Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality

Topic: Teen Pregnancy & Sexual Health

May 1

Alternatives to Tampons and Pads

Posted By iamincontrol | May 1, 2018

Did you know there’s a whole world of period products besides the pads and tampons? One of the growing areas of the period world are reusable products. They produce less waste, use less chemicals and are cheaper for you in long run. But they do require more handling and care than traditional disposable options. Here are just a few reusable options:

Menstrual Cups.

  • Silicone or latex rubber cups that are inserted into the vagina to catch and hold period blood.
  • Wash with soap and water and re-insert every 12 hours or less.
  • Sterilize in between cycles with boiling water.
  • Cost between $30-40.
  • For more info visit:

Period Panties.

  • Underwear designed to be bled into and hold period blood.
  • More comfortable than other options.
  • Panties need to be rinsed in the sink and then washed with the laundry as usual.
  • Prices range from $15-40 for one pair.
  • Check out one women’s experience here:

Cloth Pads/Tampons.

  • Come in all different sizes, shapes and materials.
  • Must be changed out as regularly as non-disposable versions (3-5 hours), so keep in mind you will have to carry around a used product if you’re out all day. Many products come with a wet bag for this purpose or you can purchase one separately.
  • Care instructions vary by product.
  • You can find these products online in varying quantities, ranging from $15-30.
  • Check out more reasons to use cloth pads:

Periods are different for everyone and it’s important to find out what is best for you. Just because some products or combination of products don’t work for some doesn’t mean they won’t work for others.

*Reminder: NO period products should be flushed down the toilet, even the disposable kind. All tampons and pads should go in the trash or washed and stored if they are reusable.

Mar 8

Unprotected Sex: What are the Consequences?

Posted By iamincontrol | March 8, 2018

Your sexual health is important.  There are many myths you may have heard and knowing the facts can help you make an informed decision.

There are a lot of myths when it comes to sex and here are the top five myths.

  1. You would know if you had a STD. Many times, STDs don’t show symptoms.. That’s why getting tested regularly or after unprotected sex is so important. Ask your doctor or visit the following website to find a testing center near you:
  2. If you contract a STD there is nothing you can do about it. Many STDs can be cured or managed by a doctor. Although we currently don’t have cures for some STDs – including herpes, HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis B & C – it is still important to know your status. Your doctor or a local clinic can help you manage these conditions physically and also help you cope mentally and emotionally.
  3. Oral sex, is safe sex. Oral sex is still risky sex and STDs can still be transmitted. HPV transmitted through oral sex has been linked to throat and neck cancer. Condoms and dental dams should be used for protection during oral sex.
  4. If you use a birth control you don’t need to worry about condoms. If birth control is not taken on time or improperly, there are still risks of pregnancy. Also birth control does not protect from any STD.
  5. STD testing is for cheaters and players. The idea of getting tested can seem very scary and you may feel you are going to be judged. Sexual health is important for every sexually active person and it has nothing to do with how many partners or unprotected sex you’ve had. It might be awkward your first time, but being safe is much more important.

Remember that abstinence is always the safest options. Thinking about your sexual health can be overwhelming and scary – talk to a trusted about your sexual health needs.

To find out more about STD prevention and safe sex, visit:

Feb 20

What to do When a Friends Tells You that They’ve Been Sexually Abused

Posted By iamincontrol | February 20, 2018

Sometimes bad things happen to people, even the people we care about. If a friend tells you that they’ve been sexually abused, it is important to know how to handle it. Here are a few basic steps to being a good friend in those moments:

  1. Believe them. It will mean so much to that person by simply saying “I believe you”. It will be so comforting to your friend. The easiest, and most important, thing you can do is believe them when they tell you.
  2. Support them. For some victims, telling a trusted friend is all that they want to do. For others, they want to report it to the police. For some, they would like to talk to professional counselors. In whatever your friend chooses, support them.. Sometimes victims can change their minds. At first, they might want to report it to the police and then in a few days they may change their minds. To be the best friend you can be, you should support them in their decisions.
  3. Take care of yourself. Hearing the trauma that someone else went through can be triggering for you. If hearing about what a friend went through brings back memories of an experience you had- get help. Even if you have not gone through sexual abuse, it may be a good idea for you to get counseling. It is important to remember that you cannot take care of your friends without first taking care of yourself.

Hearing about a traumatizing experience a friend went through can be hard. It is important to remember these three steps to help maintain a positive relationship with that person and take care of yourself. To learn more about how to deal with this type of situation:

Feb 13

Toxic Shock Syndrome

Posted By iamincontrol | February 13, 2018

If you are someone who gets a period, you’ve probably heard about toxic shock syndrome. Toxic shock syndrome is caused by too much bacteria in the bloodstream. Although it is possible to get toxic shock syndrome, it is very unlikely. Iowa hasn’t had any cases since 2015! There are several ways to decrease your risk if you have a period:

  • Use external or non-absorbent period products (pads or menstrual cups). This will make it less likely that bacteria will grow.
  • If you prefer tampons, make sure to choose lower absorbency types and to change them about every 4 hours (and never leave one in longer than 8!).
  • There is also a risk of toxic shock syndrome with certain types of birth control, like the diaphragm and sponge, so ask your doctor about how to use them safely.

If you experience any of the following symptoms while wearing a tampon, diaphragm, or sponge, take it out immediately and see a doctor:

  • Fever
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • A rash similar to a sunburn anywhere on the body
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Severe muscle aches or weakness

If you’re still worried about toxic shock syndrome, ask family and friends how they deal with their period and how they stay safe. Always talk to your doctor about concerns and they can give you advice and up-to-date information!

Read more about preventing Toxic Shock Syndrome here:

Read more about alternative menstrual products here:

Dec 26

UTIs: What You Need to Know

Posted By iamincontrol | December 26, 2017

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) refers to- you guessed it- an infection in the urinary tract. Your body has a natural defense against these infections and that defense is urination. Urine helps wash away germs from your system, hopefully, before they can cause infection. Although they are more common in girls, boys can get them too. UTIs can occur in both people who are and who are not sexually active. Just because someone has a UTI doesn’t mean they got it from having sex. If you have any pain or irregularity with urination, please visit a doctor immediately. UTIs are easily treatable, but they become worse the longer they are untreated. They also have many similar symptoms to some STDs and other diseases that must be diagnosed by a doctor. A doctor can identify the condition with a simple urine sample.

What’s better than treating an infection? Preventing an infection in the first place!

For everyone:

  • Drink lots of water. The current recommendation is 8 glasses a day.
  • Urinate frequently and always after sexual intercourse.

For those with a vagina:

  • Change tampons, pads and menstrual cups frequently. To find out more about cups, visit: 
  • Wipe from front to back. After pooping or peeing, wipe yourself starting from the front (vagina) and end in the back (toward the anus). This helps prevent poop from getting into your vagina, the most common cause of UTI.
  • Do NOT use any personal hygiene products in or around your vagina. Vaginas are self-cleaning, you should not use any products that promise to cleanse or change the smell.

If you have questions or concerns with cleanliness or the smell of your vagina talk to your doctor who can help you find healthy solution. For more information, visit:

Nov 2

What You Need to Know About HPV!

Posted By iamincontrol | November 2, 2017

88% of the voters from last month’s poll agreed that having only one partner, using condoms, and receiving the vaccine can help prevent you from contracting HPV!

What is it?

HPV stands for Human Papillomavirus. It is a sexually transmitted infection, or STI. Most people who have HPV don’t know they have it. They don’t experience any symptoms. Both men and women can have the virus.

How does it spread?

HPV lives on the skin. It can be spread through vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

Is it serious?

Most people with HPV don’t have problems. It can actually go away on its own, but that takes about two years. HPV can cause genital warts. These warts can go away on their own or grow and spread. Doctors can remove the warts, but they may come back. If that happens, you can remove them again.

  • Women: HPV can lead to cancer in the cervix, vulva, or anus. Women can get a pap test to spot changes in the cervix that lead to cancer. You can get a pap test every 1 to 3 years.
  • Men: HPV can lead to cancer in the penis or anus. Get checked for STIs if you’re having sex to make sure you can catch the cancer early.
  • Everyone: HPV can lead to cancer in the mouth and throat.

How do I prevent this?

  • Get the HPV vaccine. The vaccine stops most types of HPV that cause cancer and genital warts. You must get two shots over 6 months for it to work effectively. Both men and women can get the shot.
  • Use a condom every time you have sex. It will keep you safe because it covers the skin where the virus is. Over half of all people who are sexually active have had HPV.
  • Have sex with just one partner at a time. The more partners you have, the higher your chance of getting HPV.


To learn more, visit

Oct 26

HIV/AIDS: What you need to know

Posted By iamincontrol | October 26, 2017

What is HIV and AIDS? HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, and AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.

What’s the difference? The difference between the two is that HIV is a virus that can cause infection and can eventually lead to AIDS if untreated. However, many people can have HIV for years without ever getting AIDS. On the other hand, AIDS is a condition that develops when your immune system becomes permanently damaged by the virus. It lasts for the rest of your life, and there are few treatments to help.

What happens when you get HIV and AIDS? When someone gets HIV, his or her immune system gets really weak. The immune system helps fight off infections by using your own cells as soldiers to fight off the bad guys, like viruses and bacteria that could harm you. If HIV turns into AIDS, your body becomes so weak that it can’t fight off viruses, infections, or cancer.

How do people get HIV? HIV is spread through body fluid that is shared between two people. Here are some of the ways you can get HIV:

  • Sexual contact, which includes oral, vaginal, or anal sex without a condom
  • Sharing needles by injecting drugs or getting a tattoo with the same needle used by someone who has HIV
  • Mother to baby transmission can occur during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding

To learn more about HIV/AIDS, visit:

To find out what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is doing to raise awareness about HIV/AIDs prevention and treatment, go to

Jul 25

Sending nudes is kinda rude!

Posted By iamincontrol | July 25, 2017

Have you ever had a huge crush on someone? Nowadays, relationships start and end through text. Imagine texting your bae, and suddenly, you get a text that says “Send nudes.” What do you do?? Here is everything you need to know about sexting!

What is sexting?

“Sexting” refers to sharing nude or semi-nude photos on a cell phone. You can share them on other devices and on the Internet too. Teens and adults sext as a way of flirting or showing affection to someone they are interested in. Some teens think sexting is a form of “safe sex” because there is no risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. But some people do it impulsively if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Others do it if they are being bullied or forced to send photos because of peer pressure.

What are the consequences?

The consequences of sexting can range from nothing at all to extremely serious. Even if you trust the person you are sending nude photos to, they can share those photos or use them against you. This can happen after you break up or if you upset them.

Photos are easy to copy and paste and spread to other people. This can lead to bullying, social isolation (where people stop hanging out with you), shaming, fear, and depression. If you are under 18, DO NOT share nude photos. These photos are actually considered child pornography. If the person looking at your photos is an adult, he or she can face criminal prosecution and be placed on the sex offender list. You can face the same consequences too!

So be safe when you are messaging other people! Don’t share photos you wouldn’t want your parents to see. There are plenty of ways to flirt and show affection. Sexting doesn’t have to be one of them.

To learn more, visit:

Jun 8

LGBTQ Safe Sex Practices

Posted By iamincontrol | June 8, 2017

You’ve probably heard about using condoms or birth control by now. A lot of what you have learned focuses on sex between a man and a woman, but what about people who identify as LGBTQ? Are there safe sex practices for men who have sex with men or women who have sex with women? The answer is: Yes, of course!

The goal in any type of safe sex is to make sure that fluids from your genitals (private parts) aren’t mixing with the genitals of your partner. Condoms are the best way to protect you, especially for men who have sex with men. Be honest with your partner about your sexual health history, so that you and your partner can make healthy choices together.

There are plenty of safe sex practices for women who have sex with women, too! Here is a link that describes different ways to stay safe:

Sexually transmitted diseases are really serious and can happen to anyone! It doesn’t matter who you have sex with; you are still at risk. Educate yourself on the different ways to protect yourself.

To learn more about sexually transmitted infections, visit:

Sexually transmitted diseases are really serious and can happen to anyone! It doesn’t matter who you have sex with; you are still at risk. Educate yourself on the different ways to protect yourself.

To learn more about sexually transmitted infections, visit:

Feb 14

Costs of Teen Parenting

Posted By iamincontrol | February 14, 2017

teen comfortingBeing a teenager is hard enough! Your body is changing, and you’re under a lot of pressure from parents, friends, and school. What do you think happens if you, or your significant other, become pregnant? Here are the costs of pregnancy:


The medical costs of having a baby range from $10,000 to $15,000, including delivery of the child, tests, and prenatal care visits. Some of these costs are covered by insurance…if the parents have it.

Besides the medical costs, parents need to buy lots of things to prepare for the baby: a crib, crib mattress, sheets, bedding supplies, bathtub, bibs, car seat, diapers, baby wipes, and many others things. These things can cost between $1,700 and $4,600!


Many young parents drop out of school or do not go to college because they cannot handle being pregnant or raising a child while going to school. Two-thirds of teen mothers fail to get a high school diploma, and teen fathers generally have less schooling than fathers who have kids when they are older. Not having a degree can cause financial strains later in life since many people cannot pursue better job opportunities if they don’t graduate high school or go to college.


A lot of the emotional stress a couple may feel can be from having the baby, especially if the pregnancy is not planned. The mother may feel overjoyed, depressed, suicidal, angry and scared. She may be scared of the reactions of the father of her child and of her parents. She may also be scared of giving birth in general and fear for her future.


Having a baby is very physically demanding! It completely changes your body. Teens are more likely to have a miscarriage (loss of the pregnancy) or a premature birth (complications from having the baby too early) compared to older women.

Pregnancy is tough as it is. So is being a teenager! Don’t make things harder by mixing the two. There are plenty of blogs that talk about contraceptives like birth control and condoms. Be smart, and enjoy being young!

For more information about the costs of teen pregnancy visit: