Frequently Asked Questions

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Birth Control & Pregnancy Sexual Transmitted Infections & Diseases (STIs) Running Away/Homelessness
Drugs & Alcohol Parents Dating
     

Birth Control & Pregnancy
What different types of birth control are there and where can I access them?
There are many types of birth control. Some commonly used forms include fertility awareness methods (also know as natural family planning), hormonal methods (such as the pill), spermicidal and barrier methods (such as a diaphragm or a condom). Many forms, excluding male and female condoms require a prescription or consultation by a healthcare provider. If you are unable to afford a healthcare provider there may be a free clinic in your town or a Planned Parenthood (www.ppnne.org) which provides services on a sliding fee scale.

How effective are the various forms of birth controls? Are any 100% effective?
Abstinence is the only 100% effective method of birth control and prevention of STIs. Although no prophylactic or contraceptive can guarantee 100% effectiveness, latex condoms, if properly used, will help to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV infection (AIDS) and many other sexually transmitted diseases and are highly effective in preventing pregnancy.

Where can I go to get an inexpensive or free pregnancy test?
Depending on where you are you may have a free teen clinic like the Teen Health Clinic of Child and Health Services in Manchester (www.childhealthservices.org) the nearest Planned Parenthood (www.ppnne.org) or the nearest Feminist Health Center (www.feministhealth.org).

I am pregnant, now what?
If you find yourself pregnant whether it was planned or unplanned it is important that you seek medical treatment and discuss your options with a professional. Child and Family Services (1-800-640-6486) has trained counselors who can discuss the different options available. Also, Planned Parenthood (www.ppnne.org) and for Manchester the Teen Health Clinic (www.childhealthservices.org) both provide options counseling and medical services.


Sexual Transmitted Infections & Diseases (STIs)
What is HPV?
HPV stands for the Human Papillomavirus, which can effect both men and women. This virus is easily transmitted. Of the approximately 6 million new cases of HPV every year in the US it estimated that 74% of them occur in people 15 to 24 years old. People who are at risk are those who have any kind of sexual activity involving genital contact with person who is infected (intercourse is not necessary). Many people who may have HPV may not show any signs or symptoms, so they can pass the virus on without even knowing it. The CDC says the only way to protect yourself from HPV is to avoid sexual activity that involves genital contact. Some strands of HPV can lead to cervical cancer in women.

Am I at risk for HIV?
HIV can be transmitted through four bodily fluids: blood, semen, vaginal secretion and breast milk. You may be at risk of HIV if you are engaging in unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex, if you have been sharing contaminated needs (injection drugs, tattooing, piercing etc.) or if you have open soars that have come in contact with another person’s blood, semen or vaginal secretion. Generally, if you are concerned it may be a good idea to get tested. You can get tested at your local health department (for Manchester www.manchesternh.gov/CityGov/HLT/) local clinic or doctor’s office. CFSNH provides testing in our teen resource center for anyone who is a client of our street outreach or runaway and homeless youth program, Contact: 518-4170.

Is it safe to get a tattoo or body piercing?
It depends. If you are being tattooed or pierced by a professional who is using clean sterile equipment then you are not at risk of contracting any diseases. If you are being pierced/tattooed with a used or contaminated needle or ink you may be at risk of contracting blood borne diseases like Hepatitis C or HIV. It is important to go to a professional establishment and ask the artists about state licensing. Make sure to watch the artist open all equipment and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Are cold sores and genital herpes the same thing?
Cold sores and genital herpes are two different strands of the herpes simplex virus. A cold sore is herpes simplex virus type 1, while genital herpes is herpes simplex type 2. Most people who have cold sores do not have genital herpes and have no idea how they contracted the herpes simplex virus. It is important to note that a person with a visible cold sore can transmit herpes simplex type 1 to a person’s genitals through unprotected oral sex. If contracted the person would experience a less severe out break and future outbreaks would most likely manifest themselves orally.

Running Away/Homelessness
Where can I go if I am homeless or runaway?
The answer can vary depending on the part of the state you are in, but there may be several resources you can access including, the local emergency shelter, city welfare, local clinic, Department of Health and Human Services and local agencies. Any of these places will either be able to help you themselves or refer you to a program that can. You can also call the homeless hotline, 1-800-852-3388 (available 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday). If you are under the age of 18 you can contact Child and Family Services’ Runaway and Homeless Youth Program (1-800-640-6486 x4170) or you can call the National Runaway Switch Board, 1-800-RUNAWAY (available 24 hours a day).

If I run away from an abusive home will I have to go back if I turn myself in?
If the situation warrants you can be placed with another relative or in foster care.

Is running away from home a criminal offense?
No.

Why do kids run away?
Most kids report their reasons as stemming from problems with their families or school. However, other reasons include peer pressure, issues with their relationships, confusion about their sexuality, depression, or problems with substance abuse.

What happens if I run away and want to contact my parents or guardians?
The National Runaway Switchboard has a hotline available where you and your family can relay messages to each other while you are away from home. 1-800-RUNAWAY

What is emancipation?
Emancipation is a law that some states have which allows a youth under the age of 18 years to petition the court for a legal separation from his or her parents or guardians. The state of New Hampshire does not have an emancipation law; this means emancipation is not an option. If you are having a problem at home or thinking about running away please contact Child and Family Services Runaway and Homeless Youth Program (1-800-640-6486 x4170) or you can call the National Runaway Switchboard, 1-800-RUNAWAY (available 24 hours a day).

I’m thinking about running away, now what?
Being in the middle of a crisis can be scary and it can be hard to know where to go or what to do. Here are some things to ask yourself before you run away:

  • What else can I do to improve things at home before I leave?
  • What would make me stay at home?
  • How will I survive?
  • Is running away safe?
  • Who can I talk to about the situation?
  • Am I being realistic?
  • Have I given this enough thought?
  • What are my other options?
  • Who will I call if I end up in trouble?
  • What will happen when I return home?

If you are thinking about running away or already have you can contact Child and Family Services Runaway and Homeless Youth Program (800-640-6486 x4170) or the National Runaway Switchboard (800-RUNAWAY).

Drugs & Alcohol
Does marijuana cause addiction?
Yes, some users develop signs of addiction over time.

Is “huffing” less harmful than using other types of drugs?
No. One time huffing can kill you, and just because the products are found within the average household does not means the effects are any less harmful. Huffing can damage the liver, lungs, and especially the brain even after just one use.

Can hallucinogens like acid and ecstasy have any long term effects?
Yes. Flashbacks, depression, and psychosis can all result from use of hallucinogens.

Are there any ways to predict if a drug will give me a “bad trip”?
No. Since drugs are not regulated, you will react differently to each use. The drug’s effect also is connected to mental state, such as your mood while using.

Is meth less dangerous than drugs like cocaine and heroin?
No. You can become addicted the first time you use meth, and due to its unregulated, lethal components like battery acid and anti freeze, it causes a greater risks of brain and heart damage than other drugs.

Aren’t beer and wine “safer” than liquor?
No. One shot of liquor has as much alcohol as 12oz of beer, 5oz of wine or one wine cooler.

Parents
Why do I fight with my parents so much?
As you become a teen, you may not agree with many of the decisions your parents once made for you (what you wear, what time you go to bed, how you decorate your room etc.). You’re forming a new identity so, it's normal for you to create your own opinions, thoughts, and values about life. But sometimes your parents may have a difficult time adjusting to the new you - they only know you as the kid who had everything decided for you and didn't mind.
This adjustment can cause a lot of fighting between teens and parents. Teens get angry because they feel parents don't respect them and aren't giving them space to do what they like, and parents get angry because they aren't used to not being in control.
Remember, your parents will always want to protect you and keep you safe, no matter how old you are.
Try to concentrate on communicating with your parents as best you can. It may be difficult at times, but talking and expressing your opinions can help you gain more respect from your parents, and you may be able to reach compromises that make everyone happy.

How do I bring up difficult issues with my parents?
Bringing up sensitive topics can be difficult but sometimes a parent knows you better than you think. When approaching your parents here are a few strategies that may help: plan what you want to say ahead of time, let them know directly that there's something you'd like to discuss, pick a good time to talk and write down your thoughts if you have difficulty getting the words out.
Is it my fault that my parents divorced?
You are not at fault because your parents decided to end their marriage. Even if you feel that you stress your parents out, they are ultimately the ones responsible for how they deal with any stressors they may face in their relationship and how they want to deal with each other.
If you feel comfortable talking with either or both of your parents, let them know that you are blaming yourself for their divorce. They will be able to reassure you that their divorce resulted from unresolved issues between them, and that it was not your fault.

Dating
Am I in love or is it just infatuation?
Here are some elements of relationships that can help you determine if what you are feeling is infatuation vs. love:

Infatuation

Emotional impulse
Untested by time or circumstances
Feelings are intense
Driven by hormones
Weakens over time
Focused on self needs
Jealous and possessive

Love
Committed to the well-being of the other person
Tested by time or circumstances
Feelings level off
Knowledge driven
Becomes stronger over time
Focused on caring for the other person
Open and inclusive

I’ve been seeing my girlfriend for over a year but she wants us to be together 24/7. I care about her but she gets angry when I hang out with my friends. What should I do?
It’s emotionally unhealthy for a couple to be together 24/7. It is important that people have things in their life outside of their dating relationships which are important to them. This could include: school, work, friends or leisure activities. By building up our own selves and our own strengths we are better able to be a good part of a pair.
When you approach your girlfriend, be sure to approach this topic sensitively because something is triggering her to be emotional about spending time apart. Talk with her about this situation and find out why she gets angry when you want to do things on your own.
Also, you may want to encourage her to spend more time with her friends. Being together means respecting each other's rights to have some time apart. You can be a couple and still hold on to your individuality.

What is date or acquaintance rape?
It's when someone that you know or you've gone out with hurts you sexually. Remember, if you have been sexually hurt, it is NOT your fault. You should NOT feel guilty or ashamed. If you have been hurt, contact your local Rape Crisis Center or someone you trust like a friend or parent.

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