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Know Your Facts

Real Rap Philly encourages Philly youth to get the “real” on what sexually transmitted infections (STI) are, how they are transmitted and how to treat them. But it does not stop there. We are also your source for teen pregnancy, how it occurs and how to prevent it. Click on the links below to learn more.

    • SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS

      Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) disproportionately affect Philly youth ages 15 to 24 years old. Philadelphia is ranked #4 nationally for reported cases for chlamydia and gonorrhea. Though the statistics are alarming, Real Rap Philly’s mission is to reduce the rates of infection by educating the youth.

      It starts with you! It’s not who you are but what you do that puts you at risk of getting an STI and even HIV. Below are descriptions of some of the most common STIs among youth ages 15 to 24 years old. Each describes the type of infection (bacteria, parasite or virus), the symptoms associated with the infection and treatment options.

      If you think you may be infected with an STI, click here to find a testing site or visit your primary doctor. If you would like to speak to a Real Rap Philly representative call:

      You should ideally test for STIs every time you change a partner.

      GENITAL HERPES OR HERPES SIMPLEX 2:
      Type of infection:
      Virus 
      Symptoms:
      Painful blisters and/sores on or near the genitals or anus. Most people who have genital herpes don’t know it. There are often no symptoms. Men and women can get genital herpes.
      Treatment:
      Treatable but incurable. You will always have this virus.

      Learn more about Genital Herpes or Herpes Simplex 2

       

      GENITAL WARTS:
      Type of infection:
      Virus
      Symptoms:
      Tiny pink or reddish warts on or near the genitals or anus. It is caused by a virus calledHuman Papilloma Virus (HPV).
      Treatment:
      Treatable but incurable. You will always have this virus

      Learn more about Genital Warts

       

      CHLAMYDIA:
      Type of infection:
      Bacteria
      Symptoms:
      There are often no symptoms. Men and women can get chlamydia. When there are symptoms, they range from unusual discharge, pain in the lower abdomen to painful urination.
      Treatment:
      Treatable and curable. You can be treated with antibiotics.

      Learn more about Chlamydia

       

      GONORRHEA:
      Type of infection:
      Bacteria
      Symptoms:
      There are often no symptoms. Men and women can get gonorrhea. Symptoms include discharge, burning sensation during urination, abnormal menstruation and abdominal pain.
      Treatment:
      Treatable and curable. You can be treated with antibiotics.

      Learn more about Gonorrhea

       

      TRICHOMONIASIS (A.K.A. TRICH):
      Type of an infection:
      Parasite
      Symptoms:
      There are often no symptoms. Men and women can get Trich. Trich is usually spread through genital to genital or finger to genital touching. The most common symptom is a foamy, yellow-green or gray bad-smelling discharge that can cause itching around genitals, spotting, swelling in the groin, and discomfort during urination or sex can also occur.
      Treatment:
      Treatable and curable. You can be treated with medication.

      Learn more about Trichomoniasis

       

      SYPHILIS:
      Type of infection:
      Bacteria
      Symptoms:
      There are often no symptoms. Men and women can get syphilis. If symptoms are present, one of the first is a painless sore in the genital area. Later there can be a rash, fever, sore throat, and swollen glands.
      Treatment:
      Treatable and curable. You can be treated with antibiotics if caught early before serious damage is done.

      Learn more about Syphilis

       

      HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS (HIV) (THE VIRUS THAT CAUSES AIDS):
      Type:
      Virus
      Symptoms:
      Often people display no symptoms of HIV for many years after being infected. Men and women can get HIV. HIV causes an infection that can lead to AIDS. AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. HIV is different from most other viruses because it attacks the immune system. The immune system gives our bodies the ability to fight infections. AIDS can be the final stage of infection with the HIV virus.
      Treatment:
      Treatable but incurable. There is no effective cure for HIV.

      Learn more about HIV

      To learn more about STIs in teens visit the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention

       

    • TEEN PREGNANCY AND PREVENTION

      Although, rates are dropping, teen pregnancy drastically affects Philly youth ages 15 to 19 years old. Real Rap Philly’s goal is to continue to reduce the rates of teen pregnancy here in Philly by educating the youth and linking them to important resources and services.

      Teen Pregnancy can drastically change the direction of your life. Many teens are unaware of how pregnancy occurs, which makes them unaware on how they are putting themselves at risk. Below is information on pregnancy, how it occurs, how to prevent it and what to do if you are pregnant.

      If you think you may be pregnant click here to find a clinic or visit your primary doctor. If you would like to speak to a Real Rap Philly representative call :

      CONCEPTION:

      The Initiation of a Pregnancy

      OVULATION:

      Ovulation is the process in which a mature ovum or “egg” is released from a woman’s ovary.

      FERTILIZATION:

      This mature ovum or “egg” can be fertilized if met with a male’s sperm cell, usually after intercourse. The mature ovum or “egg” becomes fertilized if it and the sperm cell form into a single cell within the fallopian tube.

      IMPLANTATION:

      The pregnancy does not begin until the fertilized mature ovum or “egg” attaches on the lining of the uterus. Once attached, the fertilized mature ovum will begin to grow into a fetus.

       

    • PREGNANCY PREVENTION

      ABSTINENCE

      The most effective method of pregnancy prevention is abstinence. By refraining from sexual activity, you eliminate the chance of unwanted pregnancy and STIs by 100%.

      BARRIER METHODS

      Barrier methods of protection create a barrier layer between both active parties. This barrier layer prevents skin to skin contact as well as traps or neutralizes ejaculatory fluids. When used correctly, barrier methods are up to 95-98% effective. Barrier methods include: male condoms, dental dams and female condoms. Condoms are the only method of birth control that also prevent's the transmission of STIs.

      HORMONAL METHODS

      Hormonal birth control works by delivering hormones to the body to curtail reproductive function. These methods prevent the release of a mature ovum from leaving the ovary. Therefore, an egg and sperm will not meet and fertilization cannot occur. Hormonal methods are always prescribed and administered by a doctor or medical professional. Depending on the hormonal method, application varies. Consult with your health care professional on which hormonal birth control method is right for you and how to use it properly.

      Hormonal methods include:

      Birth Control Patch:
      The birth control patch is a thin, beige, plastic patch that sticks to the skin. It's used to prevent pregnancy. A new patch is placed on the skin once a week for three weeks in a row, followed by a patch-free week.

      The birth control patch is commonly called Ortho Evra, its brand name. The maker of Ortho Evra has stopped making the birth control patch, based on business decisions. If you use Ortho Evra, talk with your doctor or nurse about switching to another brand of birth control patch called Xulane or to another type of birth control.

      Other options similar to the patch include the birth control pill or ring, which have the same hormones as Ortho Evra.

      Birth Control Pills:
      Birth control pills are a kind of medication that can be taken daily to prevent pregnancy. They are also sometimes called “the pill” or oral contraception. Some birth control pills contain two hormones — estrogen and progestin. These are called combination pills. Some are progestin-only pills.

      The hormones in the pill work by:

      • Keeping eggs from leaving the ovaries. Pregnancy cannot happen if there is no egg to join with sperm.
      • Making cervical mucus thicker. This keeps sperm from getting to the eggs.

      Effectiveness is an important and common concern when choosing a birth control method. Birth control pills are very effective. Combination pills work best when taken every day. Progestin-only pills must be taken at the same time every day. That keeps the correct level of hormone in the body.

      Less than 1 out of 100 pregnancies will occur each year if the pill is always taken each day as directed.
      About 9 out of 100 pregnancies will occur each year if the pill is not always taken each day as directed.

      The pill may be slightly less effective for those who are very overweight. Talk with your health care provider if you are concerned about how well the pill may work for you.

      Certain medicines and supplements may make the pill less effective. These include:

      • the antibiotic rifampin — other antibiotics do not make the pill less effective
      • the antifungal griseofulvin — other antifungals do not make the pill less effective
      • certain HIV medicines
      • certain anti-seizure medicines
      • St. John's wort

      Vomiting and diarrhea may also keep the pill from working. Ask your health care provider for advice. Use a backup method of birth control — like a condom, female condom, diaphragm, sponge, or emergency contraception (morning after pill) — until you find out you don’t need to.

      Keep in mind the pill doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections. Use a latex or female condom to reduce the risk of infection.

      Birth Control Shot:
      The birth control shot is an injection of a hormone that prevents pregnancy. Each shot prevents pregnancy for three months.

      The shot is also known by the brand name Depo-Provera, or by the name of the medicine in the shot, DMPA.

      Like other methods of birth control, the birth control shot releases a hormone — progestin — into the body. Hormones are chemicals made in our bodies. They control how different parts of our bodies work.

      The progestin in the shot works by:
      • Keeping eggs from leaving the ovaries. Pregnancy cannot happen if there is no egg to join the sperm.
      • Making cervical mucus thicker. This keeps sperm from getting to the eggs.
      • The birth control shot is one of the most effective methods of birth control available. It works best when you get the birth control shot regularly, every 12 weeks.

      Less than 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year if they always use the birth control shot as directed.

      About 6 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year if they don't always use the birth control shot as directed.

      Keep in mind the birth control shot doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections. Use a latex or female condom to reduce the risk of infection.

      If you get the birth control shot within the first seven days after the start of your period, you are protected from pregnancy immediately. If you get the shot within five days after miscarriage or an abortion, or within three weeks after giving birth, you are protected from pregnancy immediately. Otherwise, you need to use some form of backup birth control — like a condom, female condom, diaphragm, sponge, or emergency contraception (morning after pill) — for the first week after getting the shot.

      Each shot of Depo-Provera will protect you from pregnancy for 12 weeks. So you will need to go to your health care provider every 12 weeks for a shot. If you are two or more weeks late getting your shot, your health care provider may ask you to take a pregnancy test, or may advise you to use emergency contraception if you had vaginal intercourse in the previous 120 hours (five days).

      Vaginal Birth Control Ring:

      The vaginal ring is a small, flexible ring that can be inserted into the vagina once a month to prevent pregnancy. The ring is left in place for three weeks and taken out for the remaining week of each month. The vaginal ring is commonly called NuvaRing, its brand name.

      Like other methods of birth control, NuvaRing releases hormones. Hormones are chemicals made in our bodies. They control how different parts of our bodies work.

      The hormones in NuvaRing are the same hormones as in the birth control pill — estrogen and progestin.

      The hormones in the ring work by:

      • Keeping eggs from leaving the ovaries. Pregnancy cannot happen if there is no egg to join with the sperm.
      • Making cervical mucus thicker. This keeps sperm from getting to the eggs.
      • The vaginal ring is very effective. It works best when a woman inserts it, keeps it in place for three weeks, takes it out for one week, and then inserts a new ring. That keeps the correct level of hormone in a woman’s body.

      Less than 1 out of 100 pregnancies will occur each year if the NuvaRing is always used NuvaRing as directed.
      About 9 out of 100 women pregnancies will occur each year if the NuvaRing is not always use NuvaRing as directed.

      These include:
      • the antibiotic rifampin — other antibiotics do not make the ring less effective
      • the antifungal griseofulvin — other antifungals do not make the pill less effective
      • certain HIV medicines
      • certain anti-seizure medicines
      • St. John's wort

      Keep in mind the ring doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections. Use a condom to reduce the risk of infection.

      Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC)

      Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) are the most effective methods of birth control. LARCs include the copper ParaGard IUD, the hormonal (progesterone) Mirena IUD, and the hormonal contraceptive implant (effective for 10, 5 and 3 years, respectively). These methods of birth control can prevent unwanted pregnancy up to 20 times better than birth control pills, patches and vaginal rings.

      Birth control is not one-size-fits-all, but a LARC may be right for you. They are a great option for a woman who may want to become pregnant in the future but also desires long-term, highly effective pregnancy prevention. IUDs and implants are reversible - any time you decide to become pregnant, you can have them removed. These methods need to be removed by a health care provider.

      Despite popular misconceptions, IUDs are safe and highly effective for women who have never been pregnant. PPCW staff are trained in IUD insertion, and provide this service on a regular basis to our patients.

      Keep in mind that, like many birth control methods, LARCs don’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Be sure to use a IUD to reduce your risk of infection.

      Emergency Contraception - Plan B or “Morning After Pill”

      Emergency contraception is a safe way to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. There are different types of emergency contraception, and some work better than others.

      There are two ways to prevent pregnancy after you have unprotected sex:

      Option 1:
      Get a ParaGard IUD within 120 hours (five days) after having unprotected sex. This is the most effective type of emergency contraception.

      Option 2:
      Take an emergency contraceptive pill (AKA the morning-after pill) within 120 hours (five days) after having unprotected sex.

      There are two types of morning-after pills:
      • Pills with ulipristal acetate.
      • Pills with levonorgestrel.

      Pills With Ulipristal Acetate

      There’s only one brand, called ella. You need a prescription from a nurse or doctor to get ella, but you can get a fast medical consultation and prescription with next-day delivery online at ella-kwikmed.com.
      ella is the most effective type of morning-after pill.

      It can be taken up to 120 hours (five days) after unprotected sex, and it works just as well on day five as it does on day one.

      If you’ve used the birth control pill, patch, or ring within the last five days, ella might not work as well as other morning after pills (like Plan B).

      Pills With Levonorgestrel

      Brand names include: Plan B One Step, Next Choice One Dose, Take Action, My Way, AfterPill and others.
      You can buy these morning-after pills over the counter without a prescription in most drugstores and pharmacies.

      These types of morning-after pills work best when you take them within 72 hours (three days) after unprotected sex, but you can take them up to five days after. The sooner you take them, the better they work.
      The morning-after pill is NOT the same thing as the abortion pill. If you’re already pregnant, the morning-after pill won’t affect your pregnancy.

      You can use emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy if:

      • you didn’t use a condom or other birth control method when you had vaginal sex
      • you messed up your regular birth control (forgot to take your birth control pills, change your patch or ring, or get your shot on time) and had vaginal sex
      • your condom broke or slipped off after ejaculation (cumming)
      • your partner didn't pull out in time
      • someone forced you to have unprotected vaginal sex

      If you use emergency contraception correctly after you have unprotected sex, it makes it much less likely that you’ll get pregnant. But don’t use it regularly as your only protection from pregnancy, because it’s not as effective as regular, non-emergency birth control methods (like the IUD, pill, or condoms).

      If you have sex (or think you might have it in the future), read about your birth control options or visit your local Planned Parenthood health center to find the best method of birth control for you.

      Girlshealth.gov
      Birth Control
      Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives
      Emergency Contraception

       

    • AM I PREGNANT?

      SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:

      Pregnancy symptoms vary drastically depending on each individual stage of pregnancy, diet, etc. Some of the most common symptoms are: missed period, breast tenderness, darker nipples, nausea, vomiting, increased urination, fatigue, body changes, etc.

      What to do? If you think you are pregnant, the first thing you should do is cease all drug, alcohol and tobacco use. Seek advice from a trusted adult or friend and/or take a pregnancy test. Also, schedule an appointment with a health care provider or doctor.

      To find a health care provider or health center that can assist you, please check out this list of clinics.

      For clinics and testing sites near you or call a Real Rap Philly representative at 1.855.291.7863. Find more information on Teen Pregnancy.