In addition to providing routine annual exams and Pap smears, your care provider can also provide contraceptive counseling.
To help reduce the risk of cervical and other forms of cancer, Harden encourages her patients to consider receiving the Gardisil 9 HPV vaccine, regularly use condoms and limit the number of their sexual partners.
“It’s important to know that many studies show teenagers are not more likely to become sexually active when they have access to contraceptives, but rather they are more likely to choose abstinence and/or practice safe sex when they have the information needed to make the best decisions for themselves,” Harden says.
Before becoming sexually active and after every new partner, a woman should be screened for a sexually transmitted infection.
“Young people 25 and under are especially at risk for sexually transmitted infections, and without routine screenings, they could carry an infection that could ultimately harm their fertility or cause chronic pain,” she says.