Sexually Active Teen Worries about Aids

Article excerpt

Dear Open Mind: I am a 16-year-old female who has been sexually active for about four years. I haven't slept with a lot of guys but all of this talk about AIDS is worrying me. Every time I feel bad I think I have some horrible disease. I can't talk to my mom about this. She thinks I'm a virgin and should stay one until I marry.

AIDS is an epidemic that has most people worried; you are not alone in your concern about sexual safety. Some basic education about the disease specific to women is advised for any sexually active female.

Two resources in St. Louis are the Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinic and St. Louis Efforts for AIDS. A new book entitled Women and AIDS is also available from Oryx Press.

I hear an additional issue within your question, however. Your fear of contracting this "horrible disease" seems perhaps related to guilt about being sexually active. Your expectation that Mom will go to pieces suggests that conflicts are not handled well in your family. Certainly it is naive to believe that teens are not sexually active these days. I might ask, though, what circumstances led you to first become active, and if it was actually a choice at age 12.

Being unable to control such a situation can lead to feeling that one deserves bad things - like a dreadful illness - but that is simply not true. No one deserves the horror of AIDS. Try to find out all you can about AIDS and safe sex. Knowledge is a wonderful weapon against fear. If that doesn't alleviate your concerns, consider what might be causing an unnecessary sense of guilt.

Individuals and/or family counseling with your mom might help to sort things out and assist in decision making about your sexual and emotional health. Kim Anderson, MSW Women's Counseling Collective Clayton

Making the decision to become sexually active carries with it the additional requirement to be sexually responsible. …