Teen Health

Teen Health Issues

Just for You


What’s Safe Sex & Safer Sex?

How Does Drug Use Affect Overall Health?

How Can You Tell If You Have An STD?

What Can I Do To Stay Healthy?

the experts say: In order to explain Safe Sex and Safer Sex, we must also talk about abstinence, Risky Sex and High Risk Sex. We will discuss them in order, going from what we consider most safe, to what we consider most risky.

Abstinence (or No Sex) – A situation in which a person decides not to engage in sex for one or more reasons, and holds true to that decision. Advantages of practicing abstinence include:

  • no risk of pregnancy because there’s no exchange of body fluids that can lead to a sperm and egg uniting.
  • no risk of getting HIV or other STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), which is possible when there is an exchange of body fluids during vaginal, anal or oral sex. These body fluids could be infected, and there’s no way of knowing without a laboratory test whether or not a person has infected body fluids.
  • less chance of getting emotionally involved with a person or persons who:
    • might hurt your feelings later, or
    • might have sex and then talk about it.
Safe Sex – Sexual activity in which there is no chance of exchanging bodily fluids. Therefore, there is no chance of pregnancy, or getting HIV and other STD’s. Examples of safe sex in addition to abstinence are things like touching and kissing. Teens, however, have to be careful about participating in such activities, because they can get out of control.

If a person participates in vaginal, oral or anal sex, even using a condom or other barrier, it cannot be called or considered safe sex, but safer sex. That’s because even when condoms are used properly (and many people don’t use them properly), in a small number of cases, condoms can leak or break, thus permitting fluid exchange.

Safer Sex – Sexual activity in which there is a small chance of exchanging bodily fluids. The most widely used form of safer sex is latex condom use during sex. This is because condoms serve as a physical barrier in case one of the sexual partners has infected fluids.

However, if condoms are not used properly, they are not effective, and the person using them is not engaging in safer sex. Therefore, teens who decide to be sexually active and use condoms to protect themselves must be sure they know how to use condoms properly, and insist that they and their partner always use them that way.

Sex is also safer when sexually active people only have sex with one person, who is known to be uninfected, as a result of proper testing. This is called monogamous sex. It does not mean just having sex with one person at a time.

Risky Sex – Sexual activity in which latex condoms or other acceptable physical barriers are not always used, or are not always used properly.

Although oral contraceptives usually prevent pregnancy when properly used, they don’t prevent HIV or other STD’s. Therefore, sexually active teens (and women) who use oral contraceptives but don’t use condoms are engaging in risky sex. In fact, many experts consider this high risk sex.

Remember what Teen Power says: “Better Safe than Sorry!”

Finally, also remember the Health Power motto:

Knowledge + Action = Power!

TAC (Teen Advisory Council) Views

What Things Help You Decide Who Your Friends Are?

How Can We Help Prevent Teen Violence?

William says
  • Choosing a friend should be because of leadership, trust and sensitivity. Knowing who your true friends are is one of the hardest things to figure out, but when you figure it out, it is a great relief.
  • Friends are people that you are comfortable talking to, and that you are willing to let into your personal life because you trust them.
  • I want a friend that will be there for me and is always ready to take leadership if I ever need help.
  • Leadership should be considered by everyone when choosing a friend.
  • Trust is one of the most critical things in deciding who is going to be your friend.
  • Having a friend that is around you and is sensitive to your environment as well as the environment of others is key when it comes to choosing a friend.

Ryan says:

  • A friend is a person you like, trust and can depend on. These two things are often confused in the pool of life
  • As friends, most of the time you share the same likes and dislikes.
  • In other cases you may like the company they keep, or even how you feel while being around them.
  • Friends are often chosen for the wrong reasons, and in the long run you’re faced with pondering on why this friend did you a terrible wrong.
  • Thus, in fair conclusion, all that can be said is “choose wisely”. Observe how they talk to you, and that will help you find a friend instead of just settling for an acquaintance.

Corey says
  • I choose my friends based on us being similar to each other in some ways, and us being cool with each other.
  • I rarely talk to anyone who doesn’t seem to be anything like myself, or share any of my interests, and I’m sure that stands true for many other people and their friends.
  • Friends are people you should be able to count on and who will have your back in bad situations.
  • I doubt it would be possible to become friends with those who aren’t in some way like yourself, or someone you couldn’t easily communicate with.
  • Friends are chosen based on certain qualities; for example, like those people who can make you laugh, or you enjoy being around and spending time with.



Finally, also remember the Health Power motto:

Action’s The Way 4 Health Power!

Entrepreneur Spotlight:
how leaders of color became successful

What Being an Entrepreneur Means To Us

  1. A builder of things; A creator; An innovator/designer/author
  2. A risk taker who believes in himself or herself
  3. A leader in his or her field/ A trendsetter
  4. A person that makes things happen

Entrepreneurs organize, build and lead all kinds of businesses and programs, including:

  • Medical, dental, home care services and programs
  • musical work/ventures/companies/deals
  • communication outlets such as radio and TV, wireless devices
  • construction/architecture/building design industries
  • charter schools and major educational programs like Head Start, Day Care
  • faith institutions such as churches
  • widely recognized and used web sites
  • human services programs – for youths, for the aging, etc.
  • sports management – including team ownership
  • clothing manufacturers
  • transportation – engineers, automobile dealers, car service
  • money managers, investors
  • science and research systems – scientists, inventors
  • special government programs like NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration)

Teen Power is proud to have Dr. Daniel Laroche as it’s
Spotlighted Entrepreneur of the month.

Dr. Laroche, an ophthalmologist who specializes in glaucoma, which is a serious eye condition, has his own Eye Center, with branches in Harlem and Queens, N.Y. He is also a supervisor in the Ophthalmology (Eye) Departments of three hospitals, and has been a high level officer of several doctor’s organizations. He has also provided a wide range of voluntary community service.

Check out how Dr. Laroche became so successful.


Teens Talk and Holla Back

Sexual Attitudes and Practices

  • From Marissa: When should you become sexually active?

    Corey says: You should become sexually active when you absolutely feel it is the right time for you. If you cannot make this decision for yourself, you are most likely not ready to have sex. Of course, be aware of all the consequences of having sex, if it’s not protected sex, such as STDs and especially pregnancy.

  • From Angelo: Do you think that sex addiction really exists?

    Sandy Says: Yes it does. The Internet and media contribute to this addiction. The world of pornography and the concept that sex sells makes it hard to get away from it. According to research, a traumatic childhood can have a lasting effect on a person, and contribute to sex addiction as well.

  • Sheila Asked: Should you let your parents know that you are sexually active?

    Reenee says: If you are sexually active, you should talk to your parents about your decision. If you feel that you can’t talk to yur parents about your choice, you should talk to some other adult that you trust, like an aunt or teacher.

  • Michael asked: Should schools give students free condoms?

    Reenee says: Different school systems have different policies about this. However, I think schools should give students free condoms because students are going to decide whether or not to have sex regardless of whether or not their schools give them condoms. Since schools cannot force anyone to not have sex. I think the best thing for them to do is give free condoms to students who want to protect themselves.

  • From Dakota: What are the different condoms?

    William says: There are latex, plastic, and natural condoms, (like lamb or sheep skin). Some latex condoms are opaque or white, and some are clear. Condoms also come in fancy colors, and different textures (or feels).

    The condom tips below come from Health Power, our parent organization.

    Health Power Tips for Condom Selection and Use:

    • Be sure the package condoms come in says that they’re effective for protection against HIV and other STDs when used properly.
    • Oil based lubricants should never be used with latex condoms.
    • Don’t use condoms that contain the spermicide, nonoxynol-9.
    • Since natural or animal skin condoms often leak, they should not be used.
    • Condoms whose expiration date has expired should never be used.
    • Condoms should never be stored in a warm place.
    • When condoms are not used properly – that includes how they’re taken off as well as how they’re put on – they are not effective.


Teen Power Leaders

The overall role of Health Power’s Teen Advisory Council(TAC) is to provide advice and assistance to the organization in carrying out its mission, namely improving the health of people and communities of color. The TAC’s special interest is improving the health and futures of pre-teens and teenagers of color. In focusing on teen health, the TAC uses the Health Power definition, which means physical, mental and spiritual health. The primary focus of the TAC’s activity is twofold:

  1. to play an active role in every aspect of planning and operating Teen Power, the Health Power Teen Channel, and
  2. to advise Health Power, from a teen and young adult perspective, on any other issues that arise.


our editors. . .

the tac. . .