Hi Agony Aunt
My name is Polly and I am 16. Recently I have started a sexual relationship with my boyfriend William, who is 17.
I know that he has had sex with a couple of girls in the past and I would like him to get checked for STIs to make sure that everything’s safe. Can you let me know what William’s and my rights and responsibilities are?
In your response you should explain the rights and responsibilities of both Polly and William in this situation. Also explain strategies to prevent pregnancy & STI’s.
Hi Polly, thank you very much for your letter. I hope that the following information and advice will help you and William prevent any unwanted problems after having sex. You and William both have rights and responsibilities that come with having a sexual relationship. You have the right to ask William to be checked for STI’s, and William has the responsibility to uphold your right. It is very important to respect that everyone including William have the right to make their own choices. Therefore you can’t make him go for a check up, but considering he decides not to you may want to reconsider your sexual relationship as you don’t want to put your body at risk of catching anything. However I believe that William getting check would be a very good decision. During your sexual relationship you both have the responsibility to look each others body’s, this includes protection to prevent pregnancy and STI’s. There are heaps of ways to reduce the risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection known as a STI. By following these next few simple steps you can dramatically reduce your risk of falling pregnant or catching a STI. Start with communication, been open with William it encourages trust and respect among the two of you. Secondly get tested, which you have already mentioned. Great start! Just make sure he follows through, also if you have been sexually active in the past you should get checked as well just to be safe. Always remember to protect yourself. Condoms work really well in preventing most STIs from being passed on when used consistently. Also another benefit is that when they are used correctly they help reduce the risk of getting you pregnant. In saying this they have disadvantages and advantages like most things, those being, advantages; protects against MOST STI’s, prevents pregnancy, easy to use, small and easy to keep private, don’t cost much. Disadvantages; some people don’t like them or won’t try them, may perish over time if not stored correctly, they can’t prevent the spread of STI’s if they don’t cover the affected area. However if this worries you, you may like to consider taking the pill which will prevent you from getting pregnant, you will need to see your doctor about this. Considering you decide to use condoms here is the correct way to use them. Firstly be sure it has been stored away from heat, check the expiry date. Also check that there are no holes or tears in the packet, and be careful of tearing the condom with sharp fingernails. Finally squeeze the air out of the tip of the condom before rolling it on. Hopefully this information I have provided will help you and William to have a safe sexual relationship with each other. Just remember safe sex isn’t always using condoms it’s also communicating with your partner, checking for STI’s, trusting yourself and your partner, saying yes and no when you want to and respecting each other’s rights and responsibilities. I hope you and William are able to make the right choices. If you need anything else feel free to send another letter.
All the best Agony Aunt