Thursday, April 16, 2009
Be Alert On The Internet!
One would be hard-pressed to find a child of the ‘90s who didn’t get any of their sex education from the Internet – Wikipedia, WebMD, or good old Google. Unfortunately, cyberspace isn’t always trustworthy, and much of that “sex ed” may have been incomprehensive or just plain wrong. According to a recent study from Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and the Stanford School of Medicine, these sites are riddled with misinformation and omissions – even the ones reviewed by doctors!
Six myths perpetuated by these sites:
1. Emergency contraception is not available for minors or Emergency contraception is readily available to minors. Fact: It’s neither. Only those 18 and older can buy it over the counter, but minors can obtain it with a prescription, or – in 9 states, not including MD – directly from authorized pharmacists. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently considering whether to lower the age from 18.
2. Emergency contraception causes an abortion. Fact: It doesn’t. Its effects are completely different from those of RU-486, the “abortion pill.”
3. IUDs are not safe for use by adolescents. Fact: IUDs have been proven to be absolutely safe for use by adolescents.
4. The Pill causes you to gain weight. Fact: Modern oral contraceptives have not been proven to cause weight gain; a review of 47 control trials was unable to provide evidence for the claim.
5. Adolescents don’t need a Pap smear until much later in life or Adolescents should have a Pap smear by age 18. Fact: Young women should get a Pap smear 3 years after their first sexual intercourse or at age 21.
6. Herpes can only be transmitted through sexual intercourse. Fact: Actually, you can get herpes, and a couple other STIs like HPV, from kissing or skin-to-skin contact.
If you’d like more information on these reproductive health facts, the study identified the following sites as the most reliable sources for accurate information:
TeenWire, from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Go Ask Alice, produced by Health Services at Columbia University.
Center for Young Women’s Health, from Children’s Hospital Boston.
TeensHealth, from the Nemours Center for Children’s Health Media.