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Effectiveness of Birth Control



Side Effects




Withdrawal Method





Irritation, and can cause birth defects

Condom or Diaphragm



The Pill (causes early abortions)


Death, strokes, heart attacks, stunts height, mental depression, cancer, increased blood pressure, headaches, dizziness, excessive bleeding, rashes, blood clots, sterility, birth defects, loss of interest in sex

IUD (cause early abortions)


PID, Infection, Perforation of uterus and intestines, sterility, hemorrhage, cramps, pain, ectopic pregnancy, can become embedded in the uterus or lost, death

Sympto Thermal (NFP)



Vasectomy or Tubal Ligation


Infections, fever, pain, possibly non-reversible

Source:  Facts from the Physicians Desk Reference and the Indiana State Board of Health

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Reasons To Wait

Wait for sex until marriage!! Are you crazy?

No…just the opposite.  Having multiple sexual relationships, whether one at a time or all at once, is a game of genital Russian roulette.  No one expects to lose, but too many do.  Consider the following:

Thirty years ago the average boring high school health education class discussed only two sexually transmitted diseases (or STD’s):  syphilis and gonorrhea.  These were described as potentially hazardous but nothing a little penicillin couldn’t vanquish if treated in time.

The sexual playground of the 1960s and 1970s has now become a jungle teeming with exotic, dangerous and often incurable infections.

GONORRHEA has become leaner, meaner and widely resistant to penicillin.  It can create pelvic infections in women, both low grade or red hot, causing damage ranging from scarred tubes to complete destruction of the reproductive organs.

SYPHILIS, while still responsive to penicillin, continues to spread among sexually active adolescents and adults.  Left untreated, it can lead to serious damage of the brain or heart, among other organs, or even death.

CHLAMYDIA infects or reinfects an estimated 3 million people every year without causing any obvious symptoms.  In women, chlamydia can silently damage the fallopian tubes, leading to the heartbreaking problem of infertility.  Damaged fallopian tubes can also cause an ectopic pregnancy (one occurring outside the uterus), a dangerous condition requiring emergency surgery.

Then there’s another contingent of STDs – those caused by viruses – that have a disturbing habit:  Once on board they never get off.  In fact, they may even sink the ship.

HERPES SIMPLEX has infected one in five people over the age of 12 nationwide.  Its blisters may be a mild nuisance or a major disruption as they come and go for years.  Two out of three newborns who pick up a herpes infection from their mothers at birth will die, and most of the rest will be seriously handicapped.

HUMAN PAPILLOMA VIRUS, or HPV, may be the most common sexually transmitted organism in the United States.  It causes soft venereal warts, but more important, HPV is associated with genital cancer in both sexes.  Approximately 5,000 women in the United States die every year from cancer of the cervix (the opening of the uterus); it is estimated that more than 90 percent of these cases are directly linked to HPV.

HEPATITIS B, a serious liver infection, can be transmitted sexually.  The disease may be self-limited, or it may continue for years, leading to some very unpleasant or even fatal complications, including liver cancer and cirrhosis

HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS (HIV) is carried by more than 900,000 Americans.  The progression from an HIV infection to AIDS, and ultimately death, appears inevitable, despite advances in drug therapy.  As of 1998, more than 375,000 Americans have died from AIDS, and millions more worldwide.

Want to hear something really scary?
All these diseases, and many others, can be transmitted during sex by people who don’t know they are infected.  These people don’t look sick.  They feel great and they enjoy sex, but without knowing it they may be lethal weapons.
But I practice safer sex!
(Did you notice no one calls it “safe sex” any more?)
Despite the epidemic of heartaches and horrors from STDs, far too few people today are willing to accept the obvious:  these diseases could be eliminated altogether if uninfected people would postpone sex, find and marry one partner, and remain mutually faithful for life.
That’s unrealistic, say those who are talking endlessly about “safer” sex.  Having safer sex usually means taking these precautions:
·         Limiting the number of partners with whom one has sex.  Fewer partners means fewer chances for exposure to disease.
BUT:  A lethal disease can be transmitted by a single sexual contact with one infected partner.
·         Knowing something about a partner’s sexual history, and presumably avoiding sex with someone who has had many partners.
BUT:  How do you know if you’re going to get the whole story of your prospective partner’s sex life, especially if he or she has something to hide?  And how are you going to find out what your prospective partner’s partners, or their partners, or their partners’ partners, have been up to?  From an infectious disease standpoint, you not only have sex with the person at hand, but with all of his or her sexual contacts, and all of their contacts’ contacts, and so forth.
And how about the job of taking that sexual history in the middle of a hot date?
Scene from a best-seller yet to be written:
She felt his hot breath on her neck as her supple arms twined around his waist, and then he caught a glimpse of shimmering moonlight reflected in her longing gaze.  As their passions welled, she pulled out her clipboard and purred, “Say, Harold, could you tell me about your first sex partner?  Who was she, and what was she like?  And then what happened in college when you were in that fraternity, you know, I Phelta Thi? Oh, and how about graduate school?...
·        Use a condom at all times.
BUT:  What if he doesn’t want to wear it?  Some men feel that wearing a condom during sex is like taking a bath with their socks on.
What if it breaks?  With their 10 to 15 percent failure rate during the first year of use, condoms have never been considered the most effective way to prevent pregnancy,  and wherever sperm can go, so can Chlamydia, herpes, HIV, and all the others.
Is “Safer” Sex safe?
You would be wise to consider some bottom line questions before entering a sexual relationship:
1.        If you knew that your prospective partner harbored a hazardous or even lethal disease, would you entrust your life and health to a condom?
2.       If your partner has HIV, does a one-in-ten chance of exposure to a miserable death sound like reasonable odds?
The reality is that, in the STD jungle, wearing a condom is certainly safer than not wearing one, but only, the Centers for Disease Control says, if the condom is used consistently, which means using a fresh condom – not an old one from a glove compartment – and applying it properly, not in haste, every time.  If not used this way, condoms work no better than if not used at all.
Still not convinced?  Then remember how babies get started…
Despite the widespread availability of condoms, spermicides and contraceptive pills, birth control precautions aren’t always taken in the heat of passion, and they don’t always work when they are.
More than 50% of America’s 3 million unintended pregnancies every year begin in spite of some form of birth control.
And when a woman becomes pregnant she is never the same.  Pregnancy cannot be ignored, and whatever is done about it will have a permanent effect on her life.  Only two outcomes are possible:
1.       The baby will be born, or
2.     The baby will die before birth, whether through deliberate or spontaneous abortion.
Neither outcome is easy to deal with.  There are no quick fixes where human life is concerned.  If a woman bears and raises her child, her time and attention will necessarily be diverted for years.  If she bears and gives up her child for adoption – an act of considerable courage – she will not escape physical and emotional pain.  The child is gone, but not forgotten.
Because many women find these options highly uncomfortable, they may seek an abortion, which may appear to be an easier solution.  Unfortunately, many later come to realize that what was destroyed looked a lot more like a tiny human than a shapeless wad of tissue.  And since at least one out of four women seeking an abortion does not actually believe it is morally right, thousands ultimately live with severe, longterm regrets,  especially if the procedure itself, or a subsequent infection, leaves her unable to have children later in life.
Which brings us to an important warning for women:
(Men read at your own risk.)
In the sexual revolution, women have been (and still are) the big losers.
1.       When an unwanted pregnancy occurs, the woman is usually left holding the bag, and she virtually always pays a far bigger price than her partner.
2.     STDs tend to have more severe consequences in women than in men.
3.     When women accept the Playboy philosophy of sex as recreation, they trade a number of sexual encounters for . . . nothing.  No ongoing relationships, no commitment, no security, no family and possibly no children, if they acquire a pelvic infection from a partner.
Therefore, when your date/boyfriend/fiancé begins murmuring famous lines such as, “If you really loved me, you’d sleep with me,” or “If you don’t, I’ll find someone who will,” guess whose interest he has at heart.  If you said yours, guess again.
It’s time to wise up.
This all sounds really puritanical.  Do you have something against sex?
No way.  On the contrary:
1.       What really devalues sex is the idea that intercourse is no more meaningful than a good meal or a drive in a fast car.
2.     What stifles sexual satisfaction is casual copulating with little or no emotional involvement.  Songwriter Michael Johnson said it well more than a decade ago:  Bodies on bodies, like sacks upon shelves/People just using each other to make love to themselves…
3.     What people miss in non-marital sex is the opportunity for enjoyment far greater than the immediate sensual experience.
Sex can and should generate a powerful bond, a relational Super Glue between two people.  In the setting of a permanent and public commitment, it can be savored, explored and nurtured without guilt, without fear of consequences, without bartering, negotiating, and haggling.
But how can I resist the pressure?  Everyone I know is having sex!
Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of single adults who are holding off on sex until the time is right.  Intercourse is not like breathing – you can survive without it.  But since the going can get tough, keep the following in mind:
1.       Decide - before the conversation, before the date, before the relationship gets serious - that sex begins on the wedding night and not before.
2.     Keep your reasons clearly in mind.  You’re waiting because you want to enjoy sex fully, without risking serious disease, unplanned pregnancy and distorted relationships.
3.     Keep your most significant sexual organ – your brain – free of sleaze.  Sexually oriented films and videos and explicit lyrics in rock and rap have not been created with your health and welfare in mind.  Pornography, along with being incredibly stupid, pushes barnyard sex, rape and abuse.
4.     Avoid situations that increase the risk of an accident.  Remember that sexual feelings gain momentum, much like a car rolling down an ever-steepening hill.  It’s a lot easier to put on the brakes in the coffee shop than on the couch.
5.     Alcohol and drugs cloud judgment and weaken resolve.  Stay sober.
6.     Don’t be a sucker for sexual come-ons and con games.  Have in mind some responses for the tired lines that continue to make the rounds:
“Sex will bring us closer.”
(No, it won’t.)
“Sex will enhance our relationship.”
(No, sex will become the center of attention and choke out everything else.)
“If you really loved me, you’d do it.”
(If you really loved me, you wouldn’t ask.)
“Just this once…”
(No one wants sex just once.)
“I want to give you something to remember me by.”
(Such as herpes, HIV, or a pregnancy?)
“If you don’t, I’ll find someone who will.”
(I hope the two of you have a nice life.)
What if it’s too late?

It’s never too late.  Many people, sadder but wiser, are now waiting for the safety and pleasure of a marital relationship.  To rephrase a cliché, today is the first day of the rest of your sex life.

Source:  “Sex And Singles:  Reasons to Wait”, Focus on the Family, 1994.

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What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is an infection caused by the most commonly transmitted microorganism in the United States.  Contracted only by intercourse, its primary source of infection is a woman’s uterus, tubes, and ovaries.  This can cause sterility and / or abdominal pain.  A woman can receive the infectious organism from a man during intercourse and carry it in her reproductive organs for months and not know it.  When the organism starts multiplying in her uterus, tubes, and ovaries, it causes an infection of the pelvic structures called PID (pelvic inflammatory disease).  If a woman’s reproductive organisms have been infected by chlamydia even one time, she has a 25 percent chance of becoming sterile.  If she becomes infected a second time, she has a 50 percent chance of sterility.  After four such infections, a woman has almost a 100 percent chance of being sterile for the rest of her life unless she has surgery for her infertility problems or has in vitro fertilization, and these are not always successful.

Unfortunately, the misery does not end there.  Women whose tubes have only partial scarring may conceive but have a tubal pregnancy.  If you have this type of scarring, you have a six times greater chance of having a tubal pregnancy than a woman who has not had a Chlamydia (or gonorrhea) infection of her fallopian tubes.  Tubal (ectopic) pregnancies can be dangerous.  They are the leading cause of death in pregnant women.  A tubal pregnancy is a pregnancy that grows in a fallopian tube instead of the uterus.  After only three or four weeks the tube is too small to hold the pregnancy and often ruptures, causing hemorrhage inside a woman’s abdomen.

It is estimated that over four million people in the United States develop a new Chlamydia infection each year.  This number may mean more to you if it is broken down into age groups.  It is estimated that 8 to 25 percent of all college students are infected with Chlamydia.  Adolescents have two to three times more Chlamydia than adults.  The sad conclusion is that it is mainly young people – who have not yet had children – who are unwittingly causing themselves to become sterile.


Listed below are the important facts to remember about Chlamydia:

1.       Chlamydia is often a silent infection, and up to 80 percent of people who have it are not aware of it.

2.     Chlamydia is an extremely common sexually transmitted infection.  In some groups of young men and women, as many as 20 to 40 percent are infected.

3.     It is a devastating infection for a woman.  There is evidence that it can cause miscarriages or premature births.  It is a major cause of tubal pregnancies, which are medically dangerous and emotionally painful.  The most devastating thing about Chlamydia for a woman is that it can develop into PID, which may cause sterility that can lead to years of expense and heartache.

4.     If a pregnant woman has Chlamydia at the time of delivery, her baby may develop an eye infection, pneumonia, and/or a middle ear infection.

5.     A woman who has Chlamydia will often have another sexually transmitted disease.  It is important that she be tested for other STDs as soon as the Chlamydia is diagnosed.

6.     Although men can develop epididymitis or sterility from Chlamydia, this is not very common.  This disease primarily ravages women.

Source:  Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., M.D.  Safe Sex:  A Doctor Explains the Realities of AIDS & Other STDs, pp. 102-103, 108-109.  Used by permission of Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Company, copyright © 1990, 1991.  All rights to this material are reserved.  Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Book House Company.


What is Herpes?

Herpes is caused by a virus that produces blisters and sores in and on the sex organs.  In men, the blisters may appear on the penis, the scrotum, or the anus; in women, the sores may be on the vulva, inside the vagina, on the cervix, or in the anal region.  In both men and women, the outbreaks may also occur on the skin, anywhere on the body.

The infective virus, herpes simplex type II, is spread by direct contact with someone who carries it.  This contact may be sexual intercourse, but the virus can be spread by mouth, so herpes sores on the lips may result from kissing or from oral-genital contact with an infected individual.

The herpes virus does not remain in the area where initial contact is made.  It invades the body and finally lodges in groups of nerve cells (ganglia) located near the spinal cord.  When it is causing its typical sores, the virus spreads through the nerves to the genitals or the skin.  For this reason, merely treating the area of the sores will not prevent a future herpes outbreak.


Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease that is almost always contracted through intercourse or other intimate physical contact.  The only way it can be caught from a toilet seat is by coming in direct contact with infectious secretions that have very recently been left on the seat by someone else.  You also do not need to worry about catching this disease by shaking hands or hugging or similar contact with others.  Herpes can be contracted by kissing.

Herpes is very prevalent as studies already cited have shown.  Remember that 75 percent of herpes-infected individuals have never had an outbreak of herpes (and therefore may be unaware of its existence) but can pass it on nevertheless.

Dr. Andre Nahmias, of Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (April 4, 1986) a study suggesting that 20 to 60 percent our our population has genital herpes, and that the average male adult in the United States has almost a 50 percent chance of having already been infected with the virus.

The bad news about herpes is that it can be painful, embarrassing, terribly annoying, and expensive – and places an unborn baby at risk if the mother is infected.  Somewhat better news is that it is not a dangerous disease, except to a very few people.  In fact, after four or five years, some people may actually stop having recurrences of herpes outbreaks.

Source:  Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., M.D.  Safe Sex:  A Doctor Explains the Realities of AIDS & Other STDs, pp. 112, 118.  Used by permission of Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Company, copyright © 1990, 1991.  All rights to this material are reserved.  Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Book House Company.


What is Gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the gonococcus (Neisseria gonorrhoeae), a pus-producing bacterium that is almost never transmitted any other way than by intercourse.  Although gonorrhea is often thought to be a disease of the past, the threat from gonorrhea is still very real and is growing.  Gonorrhea is highly communicable – even a one-time sexual act with an infected partner brings a 40 percent chance of contracting this disease.

The incidence of gonorrhea is increasing dramatically in the United States.  Drs. Gardner and Kaufman state that the number of gonorrhea cases in the United States has been steadily rising since 1958 and has nearly doubled since 1965.  Their book was published in 1981, and since then the number of people with gonorrhea has risen even more dramatically.

One of the main problems with gonorrhea, as well as certain other STDs, is that it can be present and produce absolutely no noticeable symptoms.  This fact alone makes gonorrhea, along with Chlamydia, dangerous.


Although gonorrhea has been around so long that it is sometimes laughingly considered a relic of the past, it is no joke to those who become infected by it.  Here are some of the facts concerning this dreadful disease:

1.       For women, gonorrhea can cause abscesses of the vulva and Bartholin’s gland cysts.  The possible long-term effects of a gonorrhea infection include sterility, tubal pregnancies, cystic ovaries, chronic pelvic pain, and need for a hysterectomy.  Gonorrhea can also cause blindness in babies who are untreated after delivery.

2.     Men who are untreated for gonorrhea may develop scarring of the urethra, which can cause difficult urinary-tract problems.

3.     Antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea strains are becoming increasingly common in the United States.  While this does not mean that gonorrhea cannot be treated, treatment can now cost ten times as much as it would if the germ were responsive to penicillin.  It also means that major damage can be done to the female organs by the time a physician realizes that the germ is a resistant strain.

4.     If a woman uses an IUD (intrauterine device to prevent conception), she is from two to four times more likely to develop PID if she becomes infected with gonorrhea.

5.     While antibiotics can kill the gonorrhea organisms, they cannot erase the scars that may have already resulted from the infection.  Complications may remain.  If the gonorrhea has produced scarring, adhesions, or blocked fallopian tubes, the condition will remain long after the gonococci have been eradicated – and may have permanent effects on a woman’s health and / or fertility.

Source:  Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., M.D.  Safe Sex:  A Doctor Explains the Realities of AIDS & Other STDs, pp. 119-120, 124-125.  Used by permission of Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Company, copyright © 1990, 1991.  All rights to this material are reserved.  Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Book House Company.


What is Syphilis?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that results from infection with the syphilis organism, Treponema pallidum.  This is a spirochete, so named because of its somewhat corkscrew-shaped appearance.  The syphilis organism dies quickly if it is not in a warm, moist environment.  It can be transmitted only from one moist area to another and it is almost entirely a sexually transmitted disease.

In their previously cited book, Benign Diseases of the Vulva and Vagina, Drs. Herman L. Gardner and Raymond Kaufman write:

          Syphilis is a continuous infectious process that is initiated at the time of contact.  It passes through well-known clinical stages:  incubation, primary, secondary, latent, and late (tertiary).  Transmission of syphilis involves intimacy, and in the vast majority of cases, it is attributable to sexual contact.

          Many recorded examples have occurred from kissing.  Spirochetes (the syphilis organism) readily invade intact, moist mucus membranes.  Invasion through dry, unbroken skin is unlikely.

          According to estimates, approximately half of the patients with syphilis are either unaware of its presence, or consider the lesions inconsequential until the disease is past its early stages.

          Although the patient is actually infected from the moment of inoculation (the time of intercourse from which he or she gets the infections), the primary lesions (chancres) usually do not appear for ten to ninety days, the average being three weeks.  Serologic (blood) tests do not become positive for an additional week or longer.


There are many facts about syphilis that are important enough to keep in mind:

1.       The incidence of syphilis has recently surged dramatically; for the past few years it has been occurring at the highest rate since 1950.  In 1987, syphilis increased 25 percent, and it increased another 25 percent in 1988.  Public health officials are alarmed.

2.     Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease passed by intimate sexual contact, including intercourse, kissing, and oral / genital contact.

3.     A man in the latent stage of syphilis is not as likely to transmit the disease to a sexual partner as in the primary and secondary stages.  A woman, however, can transmit syphilis during the menstrual period, even in the latent phase.  (Menstrual flow contains the spirochete germ, even in the latent stage).

4.     Approximately 42 percent of people who have intercourse one time with a person who has syphilis do not become infected.  This means, however, that over 50 percent do (British Journal of Venereal Disease, 1983).

5.     Even extremely competent doctors can miss the diagnosis of syphilis because it is often difficult to identify initially, even when laboratory techniques are used.

6.     It is not against the law to have syphilis.  Your doctor will not report it to the police but will make a confidential report to your local public health department.  This allows them to trace this silent killer and identify people who are infected and don’t know it.

7.     Syphilis affects women more adversely than it does men.  In the last three years of the 1980s, the national incidence of syphilis increased 30 percent, but the increase among women was 60 to 75 percent.

Source:  Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., M.D.  Safe Sex:  A Doctor Explains the Realities of AIDS & Other STDs, pp. 128, 133-134.  Used by permission of Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Company, copyright © 1990, 1991.  All rights to this material are reserved.  Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Book House Company.


What is HPV Infection?

The virus group causing venereal warts is essentially passed only by sexual intercourse and is therefore a true sexually transmitted disease.

Infection by an HPV can cause growths of soft warts on the genitals.  In men, the warts can develop on the penis, on the scrotum, or sometimes (due to anal intercourse) in or around the anus.  They can also occur in the groin area.  These warts are very contagious.  Roughly 85 percent of women whose regular sex partners have these warts will develop similar growths within eight months.  In women, the warts may appear in the groin, on the vulva, or (with or without anal intercourse) in or around the anus.  They also commonly occur in the vagina and on the cervix.

Venereal warts are only mildly irritating.  They do not burn, and usually do not itch.  A woman will often by unaware of the warts if they are inside the vagina.  I have found, though that women are often very bothered emotionally to know that they have venereal warts.  It is probably not the physical discomfort but the mental concerns that are worrisome.

Physicians and medical science have only in the past few years begun realizing another significant fact about HPV infection.  Essentially all abnormal Pap smears indicating precancerous cells are a result of infection from this sexually transmitted virus.  Studies done recently show that between 63 and 80 percent of the current male partners of women with abnormal (premalignant) Pap smears had venereal warts on their penis.  It is primarily because of this sexually transmitted disease that doctors advise every woman to have a Pap smear ever year.  This is the impact that just one STD has already had in our society.

The human papillomavirus can cause changes of the skin cells of the penis, the vagina, and the vulva that may develop into precancerous growths.  Abnormal cells of any of these organs will remain in a precancerous state for a while, but, if untreated, they can eventually change into invasive cancer.

An increasing problem from genital HPV infection is discomfort at the entrance to the vagina.  This is called vestibulitis.  Symptoms are vulvar irritation, burning, itching, and pain, especially with intercourse.  This very distressing problem is difficult both to diagnose and to treat.

If a woman becomes infected with a very aggressive form of this virus, or if she has not had a diagnostic Pap smear for several years, she may develop cancer of the cervix and not know it.  The same thing can happen to a woman’s vagina or vulva if she does not have regular exams that would discover the abnormalities early enough to treat successfully.


HPV infection may be the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States.  Although Chlamydia presently holds this record, studies are beginning to show that HPV infections may be even more prevalent.  Further facts include:

1.       HPV infections are the most rapidly increasing sexually transmitted disease and cannot be taken for granted.  These infections are presently (1990) killing many more women than AIDS.

2.     Genital HPV infection has a particular affinity for young women.  When 796,337 Pap smears of women of all ages were evaluated, nearly one-fourth of the abnormal smears were from women between the ages of 15 and 19.  Most of these girls had had sexual intercourse before the age of 15, and more than half had had more than one partner.

3.     Older women who have had multiple sex partners have a similar risk of developing precancerous and cancerous changes to the cervix from HPV.

4.     The partner of a person with an HPV infection will contract the virus from 60 to 90 percent of the time.

5.     The HPV can be carried undetected for days, months, and perhaps years, but the disease can be transmitted during this time.  It is estimated that up to 30 percent of all sexually active women and men have this virus.

6.     For a woman, HPV infection can involve multiple visits to a physicians, colposcopies, biopsies, laser treatments, repeated Pap smears, etc.

All the worry and expense related to HPV infection can be avoided by following the basic guideline that sex is only for marriage.  If neither partner in a mutually monogamous marriage has ever had sex with anyone else, HPV infection will not develop.

Source:  Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., M.D.  Safe Sex:  A Doctor Explains the Realities of AIDS & Other STDs, pp. 136-137, 142-143.  Used by permission of Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Company, copyright © 1990, 1991.  All rights to this material are reserved.  Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Book House Company.


What is AIDS?

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is a viral infection caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

HIV is a “retrovirus”.  It is selective, choosing the immune cells in a human body to attack.  (Brain and spinal cord cells can also be damaged, however).  Once an HIV infection occurs, it spreads throughout the cells of the immune system, destroying them as it goes.  The human immunodeficiency virus is one of the most variable viruses known.  Over 150 strains have already been identified.

Although most people (including some physicians) refer to those who are HIV-infected as having AIDS, that is not technically correct.  While the potential for developing full-blown AIDS exists in HIV-infected individuals – and this disease will ultimately develop – the term AIDS is not truly applicable until the “silent” period is passed.  At that point, when the immune system has been severely damaged, opportunistic infections that would otherwise not be a problem become life threatening.  As these begin to occur in an HIV-infected individual, he or she is said to have AIDS.

The term HIV-positive is used for anyone who has been infected with HIV.  Once this infection occurs, a person is infected and contagious for life.  Not only can future sexual partners contract AIDS from this person, but also his or her blood can infect others through breaks in the skin, shared drug needles, and transfusions.

However, I will use “HIV-infected” throughout this chapter to refer to a person who has been infected with the AIDS virus, whether or not the disease symptoms are present.  Such a person is considered as contagious to others as if the infection were already “mature”.  And, short of a miracle, he or she will develop AIDS and eventually die from it.

A person who is HIV-positive may feel perfectly healthy and be unaware of carrying the AIDS virus.  Even a blood test can give a false sense of security, since it may fail to show positive from months to years after an infection.  In fact, it may take longer than that.  An Associated Press news release from Boston (quoted in Houston Post June 1, 1989) stated that people at high risk of developing AIDS may silently harbor the AIDS virus for years, while standard blood test show them to be free of infection (though this rarely happens).  A study conducted by Dr. David T. Imagawa of the University of California at Los Angeles and published in the New England Journal of Medicine (June 1, 1989) revealed that HIV can permanently insert itself into the genes of blood cells but stay “hidden,” so that the body does not produce antibodies for three years – and perhaps much longer – after the initial infection.

Dr. William A. Haseltine of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, an AIDS expert familiar with Dr. Imagawa’s research, cautioned that the discovery “raises the sobering possibility that people with silent infections may pass on the virus through blood and organ donations.”

AIDS is spread by the exchange of HIV-infected body fluids:  blood and blood products and semen (and possibly saliva and even tears).  Principal transmission is through intimate sexual contact or through the use of contaminated I.V. needles in the drug-use population.  Before mandatory testing was instituted for blood-bank reserves, hemophiliacs were at great risk from receiving transfusions of HIV-infected blood.  In addition, dental professionals now routinely wear rubber gloves since – if even a minor cut were present on their hands – they would be at risk from any AIDS virus that might be present in the blood of patients with periodontal (gum) disease or those requiring dental surgery.

AIDS has not been proven to be spread in restaurants, by mosquitoes, by hugging, by toilet seats, by eating utensils, by hairdressers, or by shaking hands.  To be transmissible, the AIDS virus needs the warmth and moist surfaces available in intimate contact or the commingling of blood. 

A report released in March 1989 by the Texas Department of Health revealed some startling statistics.  The study (prepared by University of Texas researchers Demetri Vacalis, Ph.D., Pamela J. Shoemaker, Ph.D., and Alfred McAlister, Ph.D.) indicated that:

1.       Most Texans did not know the signs and symptoms of AIDS.

2.     One-sixth of the population was unaware that healthy-appearing people can be a source of HIV infection.

3.     A majority of Texans stated their belief that AIDS was a result of a breakdown of traditional values.

4.     Subjects who attended religious services most often were less likely to have had multiple sex partners or to have had sex with prostitutes.  The most sexually active group was the 18- to 24-year-old group, with blacks more likely to report multiple sex partners than Hispanics or Anglos.

5.     Those considered “at risk” through sexual activity were those who had been sexually active and either (a) had more than one sexual partner in the past year, or (b) had been in a mutually faithful relationship for less than seven years, prior to which they had been sexually active.

6.     Only half of the “at risk” respondents to the survey had used a condom in the past year, and only 32 percent of that half had the condom in places before the first genital contact was made.


In spite of the increased publicity and available information, AIDS is still spreading rapidly in our society.  It is estimated that the number of people with AIDS is doubling every 2.8 years.  Many of the statistics regarding AIDS are startling:

1.       As with most other sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS seems to be increasing especially rapidly in the teenage population.  Dr. Karen Hein of the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond said, “A much feared heterosexual wave of AIDS  has happened, and is happening, among teenagers.”  (OB/GYN News, vol. 23, no. 13, July 1988).  According to Dr. Hein, some studies indicate that 20 percent of all HIV-infected people become infected as teenagers.

2.     Among teenagers, there are just as many females as males who are HIV-infected, showing that HIV is a heterosexual disease; in adult groups, more men than women have the virus.

3.     Dr. Allen Guinan of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta showed that women accounted for 10 percent of all AIDS cases in 1988, an increase of more than 40 percent from 1987 (OB/GYN News, Feb. 1988).  AIDS is the leading killer of women in the 25-34 age group in New York City.  In 1981, women comprised only 3 percent of AIDS cases in the United States.  Heterosexual women are at least four times more likely than heterosexual men to acquire AIDS through heterosexual intercourse.

4.     One of the big myths of AIDS is that it is contracted from “kinky” sex.  AIDS, however, is not so selective.  It is transmissible through “normal” penile / vaginal intercourse.

5.     There is no “safe sex” when one partner has AIDS.  In one study it was found that when couples had intercourse without protection, thirteen out of sixteen uninfected partners became infected.  If couples used condoms, two out of 12 (17 percent) became infected during the short period of the study.  And these were couples in which the uninfected partner knew that his / her partner had AIDS and was being excruciatingly careful about using so-called protective measures.

6.     According to Dr. Robert Redfield, an infectious disease expert with Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, it is estimated that in ten years, one in 200 males in our country and one in 400 females will be HIV-positive.

7.     One in two hundred teenagers who graduate from high school in Washington, D.C., is infected with HIV.  And in New York, 1 in 112 women delivering babies is HIV-positive.  (In some areas of Africa, where AIDS has been present longer than it has in the U.S., one in five women delivering babies is HIV-positive.)

8.     The statistics from Africa are quite frightening because they could foreshadow what might happen in the United States.  A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Dec. 1988) on blood tests of all patients in a group of fifteen hospitals in Uganda during a one-week period found that 42 percent were HIV-positive.

9.     AIDS is alarmingly present in our colleges.  A CDC study reported in American Medical Association News (June 2, 1990) showed that 2 in 1,000 college students test positive for AIDS.

10.  The risk of infection with a sexually transmitted disease climbs as the number of persons with whom a person has intercourse increases.  The Journal of the American Medical Association (Oct. 1988) stated that a sizable percentage of young, never-married men reported more than ten partners during the previous twelve months.  A woman who has intercourse with one of these men should consider the fact that, in effect, she is having sex with all the people with whom her partner has ever had sex.

11.   The American Medical News (March 18, 1988) reported that a new HIV (HIV-2) has been found in the United States for the first time.  Current blood-screening techniques will not detect the HIV-2.  Although most AIDS in the United States is thought to be caused by the HIV-1, the HIV-2 will no doubt continue to spread, necessitating the developing of new screening tests for blood banks.

Dr. Roger W. Enlow, an AIDS expert, said in 1983, “We will have the answer [to AIDS] within two years” (American Medical Association News, August 5, 1983).  What a naïve statement!  This exemplifies the wishful thinking that most people adopt in regard to any sexually transmitted disease.  And the AIDS virus is much more complicated than most viruses that affect humans.  A significant number of experts now feel that there may never be a vaccine effective against HIV, and that it will be years before a cure is discovered, if ever.

Once again I have good news.  You don’t need to worry about HIV if you and the person you marry never had sex before marriage, maintain a monogamous relationship once married, never have used or use I.V. drugs, and have never had a blood transfusion.

Source:  Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., M.D.  Safe Sex:  A Doctor Explains the Realities of AIDS & Other STDs, pp. 146-149, 152-155.  Used by permission of Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Company, copyright © 1990, 1991.  All rights to this material are reserved.  Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Book House Company.

Hepatitis B:

What is Hepatitis B?

Although it was only fifteen years ago that hepatitis B was first thought to be sexually transmitted, it is now known to be one of the most common STDs in the world.  Hepatitis B is caused by a virus that is transmissible through body fluids – blood and blood-derived products, semen and vaginal fluids, and saliva.  This virus basically affects functioning of the liver, often causing damager that is severe enough to be fatal.

As with AIDS, there are other ways to transmit the disease than through sexual intercourse.  Blood transfusions and any other exchange of body fluids (such as getting infected blood onto a break in the skin or using contaminated I.V. needles) can also cause a hepatitis B infection.


One of the most important aspects of this sexually transmitted disease was reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Sept. 12, 1986).  Dr. Schreeder’s studies of university students showed that a person who has had fewer than ten sexual partners has a relatively low risk of getting hepatitis B.  A history of more than ten partners presents a huge increase in the possibility of contracting this infection.

Of course, the safest course is to have no sexual intercourse until marriage.  But a person who has had multiple sex partners over a period of time, and who has not yet developed hepatitis B, AIDS, or other sexually transmitted disease, should stop those sexual practices now if he or she wants to stay healthy.

Source:  Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., M.D.  Safe Sex:  A Doctor Explains the Realities of AIDS & Other STDs, pp. 158, 160.  Used by permission of Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Company, copyright © 1990, 1991.  All rights to this material are reserved.  Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Book House Company.


What is Vaginitis?

There are basically two types of what is known as “vaginitis.”  One, trichomoniasis is an infection caused by a protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis.  Except in rare cases, this parasite is spread only by sexual intercourse, making it a true sexually transmitted disease.

Trichomonal vaginitis causes a vaginal discharge and itching of the vulva.  The itching can be quite intolerable, and it is often this discomfort that forces a woman to see a physician.  Tenderness and burning of the vulva frequently accompany the infection, often leading to pain with intercourse.

Although men who have contracted this infection occasionally have a discharge from the penis, they usually have no other symptoms.  Very rarely they may have occasional slight burning with urination.

Since being recognized as a sexually transmitted disease, trichomoniasis is now known to be one of the most common STDs in the world.  For example, 90 percent of prostitutes have this infection at one time or another.

Gardnerella vaginalis (or Hemophilus vaginalis) is a bacterium that causes another type of vaginitis.  A woman with this infection will have a vaginal discharge that may initially be misinterpreted as only heavy vaginal secretions.  The most bothersome symptom of the discharge, aside from stained underwear, is the fishy odor.  There may also be a very mild burning and itching in the vaginal area.

Infected men usually have no symptoms of Gardnerella.

Gardnerella vaginitis is almost invariably sexually transmitted and is present in 10 to 20 percent of women of reproductive age.


It is important for a woman with vaginitis to realize that the same sexual partner from whom she contracted those organisms may also harbor other, more dangerous diseases.  Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, or any of the other sexually transmitted diseases may accompany Trichomonas or Gardnerella vaginitis.  Because of the danger of multiple infections, a woman may want to request examinations by her doctor for other sexually transmitted diseases.

I have discussed two causes of vaginitis.  We gynecologists are seeing more and more women with exceedingly persistent vaginitis in spite of standard therapy.  It has now been shown that an HPV infection at the entrance to the vagina (genital warts) can make these tissues very sore and tender for months.  I believe we will find that other sexually transmitted organisms are complicating the treatment of persistent vaginitis in women who continue to change sexual partners.  We almost never see persistent vaginitis in married women if both husband and wife are faithful to each other.

Ask women who have suffered it – a clean vagina with freedom from discharge, itch, and odor is another good reason to have sex only with one man for a lifetime.

Source:  Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., M.D.  Safe Sex:  A Doctor Explains the Realities of AIDS & Other STDs, pp. 162-165.  Used by permission of Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Company, copyright © 1990, 1991.  All rights to this material are reserved.  Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Book House Company.

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Chastity – the real “Safe” solution

Keeping Sex for Marriage frees you from the high personal cost of “free sex”

·        The pill and the IUD are known to cause early abortions and neither is foolproof.  The list of possible dangerous side effects attributed to use of the pill, including blood clots, strokes, cancer, and sterility (not ever being able to have children) would make me wonder if the few minutes of fun were worth chances I was taking.  Would you ask someone you care about to take risks like that?

·        Let’s face it – no form of birth control is foolproof.  No matter what you use, condoms, IUD, or the pill, you can still become parents.  Are you ready to devote the next 18 years of your life to your child?  Guys are required to pay child support, no matter what your age, until the child is 18 years old.  There is a test that is 99% accurate to prove who the father is.

·        When you wait for sex you don’t have to worry about a hurry-up wedding, or bringing a child up alone without two loving parents, having to make tough decisions about adopting out your baby to a good home or killing your first baby by abortion.

·        Next time seriously rephrase “making love” to “let’s make a baby”, and see if you both still really want to.

·        AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in epidemic proportions.  They affect rich, poor, and middle class.  Some of these are not curable and they are spread through sexual contact…do you really want to expose yourself to life long diseases?

·        You and your partner are free to continue school, college, or career plans without being trapped by the consequences of your sexual act…thinking ahead to what’s best for someone else is a sign of maturity.

·        You don’t have to worry about being exploited sexually by others if you wait…and you don’t have to wonder if your partner really likes you, or just the sex.

·        If you’re the kind of person who likes to be honest and proud of what you do, waiting will take care of having to sneak sex and hope no one finds out, as well as lying about what you really did last night.

·        Your parents won’t be hurt and disappointed by all the problems premarital sex can cause, and you won’t have to feel like you betrayed their trust.

·        You don’t have to worry about a bad reputation which might make some really nice guys and girls who would have liked to get to know you better steer clear.

Love & Chastity

Love is patient, kind, willing to endure all things.  Love enables a husband and wife to care for and support one another till death do they part.  Love is not high pressured and demanding.  Love is much more a decision than a feeling.

Sex is a symbol of marital love and commitment.  It is meant to be a renewal of the marriage covenant.

Freedom is the ability to do what is morally right.  Freedom means being able to say “no” to temptations.

Chastity is the spiritual energy that helps break the bonds of selfishness and sexual aggressiveness.  Chastity is an inner strength that helps you to control your sexual urges.

For the unmarried, “Yes” to Love means “No” to Sex

© The Couple to Couple League

Why Chastity?


1.       Pregnancy

2.     Hurry-up wedding

3.     Adoption decision

4.     Abortion decision

5.     Guilt

6.     Sexually transmitted diseases

7.     Cancer of the cervix

8.     Hazards of birth control

9.     Self-induced sterility

10.  Being used

11.   Loss of reputation

12.  Ruining your future


1.       Develop friendships

2.     Help others

3.     Understand sex

4.     Resist temptation

5.     Plan your future

© The Couple to Couple League

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How to Say NO

It’s not easy but you can do it.  Be kind, but firm.  Just say “no” – you don’t need to explain.

Know why you choose your attitude and standards – when you know why it makes saying “no” easier.

Value your virginity, it is not only good for you but also for your partner.

Choose friends who have high standards, and show them you’re proud of yours.

Try to stay away from situations that cause temptations (parking, R and X rated movies, having alcohol on dates, etc.)

Sometimes teenagers who have had sex feel like they have to keep having sex.  It may be hard to say “No more”, but it’s not impossible.  It’s the mature person who can admit they made a mistake and then change to become the kind of person they really want to be.

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The Pill

Click here for information on the pill’s effectiveness and side effects from the American Life League.

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Side Effects (from Dear Doctor Karen)

Depo-Provera is a long-acting progestin (artificial progesterone) drug administered by injection every three months.  Its actions are similar to those of oral contraceptives – blocking ovulation and thinning the uterine lining so that if fertilization occurs, implantation will be more difficult or impossible – causing an early abortion.

Its side effects are often bothersome to patients.  Most frequent is irregular bleeding or spotting, which frequently (but not always) progresses to amenorrhea (cessation of menses).  Patients may notice swelling, weight gain, hirsuitism (abnormal hair growth in a male pattern) and depression.  Some patients have told me they have experienced loss of libido (sexual drive).

More life-threatening is the increased risk of breast cancer in women who have used Depo-Provera – a study showed a 190 percent or more increase in the rate of breast cancer among women who used Depo-Provera for more than two years prior to age 25.  If a woman conceives while on Depo-Provera, she has a greater chance of ectopic pregnancy – which can be life-threatening if it ruptures.  Depo-Provera users also are at increased risk of osteoporosis – loss of bone density leading to increased risk of fractures.  This may not seem very serious, but any physician who cares for elderly women has seen patients suffer markedly worsened overall health status – and even death – from hip fractures and the resultant mobility problems.

Serious side effects such as these might be warranted when one is treating a life-threatening disease.  However, when the “disease” we are treating is normal fertility, the price is simply too high.

Source:  This article appeared in the January/February 2001 issue of Celebrate Life, a publication of American Life League.

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