A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Know your body: Men
Know your body: Women


Abnormal: (as in abnormal Pap smear or abnormal test result) outside of the normal; not regular.

Abortion: Termination of a pregnancy. An abortion can be spontaneous (better known as a miscarriage) or medically induced through surgery or by drugs. Medically and surgically induced abortions should only be performed by a trained clinician.
In Pennsylvania and some other states, there are certain requirements a woman or a teen must follow before she can get an abortion.
For more information about abortion requirements in Pennsylvania call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 or visit CHOICE online.

For post abortion assistance, call 1-866-4 EXHALE or visit www.4exhale.org

Click here for more information about abortion.

Abstinence: Abstinence means to not have sexual intercourse of any type: oral, vaginal or anal. Abstinence is a personal decision that can be chosen by anybody at any point in his or her life. Some people choose to abstain from all sexual contact. Others choose to not have intercourse, but engage in other sexual activities. Not having intercourse (sex) does not mean you can't hold hands, cuddle, kiss & talk! Abstinence is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy. Not having sexual intercourse of any type: oral, vaginal or anal prevents you from getting most STDs and HIV.

Adoption: Adoption is when a birth mother and a birth father legally give up the rights to take care of a child and another person assumes responsibility for raising the child. The laws governing adoption differ for every state.

More on adoption.

AIDS: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It is a set of life-threatening conditions that occur during the last stage of HIV disease. HIV disease is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). A person is said to have AIDS basically when the body looses its ability to fight off infections as the result of HIV.

Anemia: Also called "Iron Deficiency" and "Low Iron Level". In the human body, iron is present in all cells and has several important jobs. Too little iron can interfere with these functions and lead to illness and death. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control, Anemia is the most common known form of nutritional deficiency. It is most common among young children and women of childbearing age (particularly pregnant women).
If you don't know where to go for testing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.

Antibacterial Soap: This is a soap that contains chemicals that will kill bacteria when you wash items with the soap. Look for the words "Antibacterial" on the label.

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Barrier Method: A birth control method that provides a physical barrier between the sperm and the egg. Examples of barrier contraceptive methods include condoms, diaphragms, foam, sponges and cervical caps. The effectiveness rate for barrier methods ranges from 77% to 98% in preventing pregnancy.
Advantages: No major health risks. You use them only when you need them. Many can be bought over the counter at a drug store.
Problems: Some men and women are allergic to latex or the spermicide used.

The use of barrier methods can lower your risk of getting STDs and HIV.

Basal Body Temperature Method: A component of the Fertility Awareness Method of birth control. Known as BBT, this method uses daily temperature readings taken by a woman immediately after waking, to identify the time of ovulation. In order to perform BBT and the other components of Fertility Awareness, it is important to take a class or read a book on the subject. The effectiveness rate of BBT alone is low, but when used as a part of Fertility Awareness it can be 80% to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.
For more information on where to learn about this method in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you or visit Medical Online.com for more information.
Advantages: No side effects.
Problems:It can be hard to keep good records of your temperature. You may have less than 2 weeks of each menstrual cycle that are considered safe days to have sex without becoming pregnant.
BBT does not prevent infection and the spread of STDs and HIV.
The use of a condom with this method will help prevent the infection and spread of STDs and HIV.
For more information about birth control methods, click here.

Birth Control Method: Also known as contraceptive method. A birth control method is an effective, safe, comfortable method you use to prevent pregnancy. Birth control can be temporary; meaning you can stop using the method and possibly become pregnant. Temporary methods are birth control pills, Depo-Provera, Norplant, IUD, diaphragm, cervical cap, condoms, contraceptive sponge, spermicidal foam, film and cream. Birth control can be permanent; meaning you can not reverse it if you decide you want to become pregnant. Permanent methods are tubal ligation for women and vasectomy for men.
For more information about birth control methods, click here.

Birth Control Pills: Often called the Pill, this method of birth control uses certain female hormones called estrogen and progestin to prevent pregnancy. A woman must take one pill at the same time each day. The pill prevents pregnancy by stopping the release of an egg and thickens the cervical mucus. With correct use, the pill is up to 99.9% effective in preventing pregnancy. Birth control pills are only available by prescription or through your family planning provider.
Advantages: Regular periods, less cramps with period, less acne, less premenstrual symptoms (PMS), and less anemia. Can prevent ovarian and endometrial cancer.
Problems: Must remember to take a pill each day. You shouldn't smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day. In rare cases, can cause blood clots, stroke, & heart attack.
For more information on where to learn about this method in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.
The pill does not prevent infection and the spread of STDs and HIV. The use of a condom with this method will help prevent the infection and spread of STDs and HIV.
For more information about birth control methods, click here.

Bladder Infection: See Urinary Tract Infection.

Breasts: Two glands on the chests of women. Men also have breast tissue. Breasts are considered sex organs because they are often sexually sensitive and may inspire sexual desire. They produce milk during and after pregnancy.

Breast Exam, Self: An exam that a woman or man should do each month to check for any changes in breast tissue. For more information and a demonstration on how to do a self-breast exam ask your clinician, or visit the Breast Cancer Network of Strength.

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Celibacy: See Abstinence.

Cervical Cap: A thimble-shaped latex cap, approximately 2 inches long and 1 to 1 1/2 inch in diameter, for which your clinician will fit you. You put spermicide in the Cap and then you put the Cap in your vagina to cover your cervix. The Cap must cover the cervix for 6 hours after sex, but can be left in place for up to 48 hours. The Cervical Cap is between 82% and 94% effective.
Advantages: Cap can last several years. No major health risks. You use it only when you need it.
Problems: Difficult for some women to put the cap into place over the cervix. You must be comfortable touching your vagina. Some women have allergies to latex or spermicide.
For more information on where to learn about this method in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.
The use of a cervical cap can lower your risk of getting STDs and HIV. The use of a condom with this method will also help prevent the infection and spread of STDs and HIV.
For more information about birth control methods, click here.

Chlamydia Trachomatis: Often called Chlamydia, it is a microorganism that is sexually transmitted. Chlamydia is the most common STD reported today. You can be tested by your gynecologist or at your local family planning clinic. If you don't know where to go for testing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic. You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.
A big problem with Chlamydia is most men and women don't get any symptoms. When a person has symptoms they may be a yellow or green vaginal discharge, bleeding after sex, and/or pelvic pain. Left untreated, Chlamydia can cause infertility (you can't get pregnant and have a baby). Chlamydia can be easily treated with drugs from a doctor or clinician. If you test positive for Chlamydia, you and everyone you have sex with should be treated!
Using condoms can prevent infection and the spread of Chlamydia.

For more information on Chlamydia visit the Centers for Disease Control.

Clinician: Also called a Provider or Doctor. A clinician can be a doctor, (in a family planning clinic you usually see a gynecologist, and in an STD clinic you may see a urologist) a nurse practitioner, aphysician's assistant, or a midwife. A clinician is a medical professional who has received specialized medical training to perform physical, testicular and pelvic exams, prescribe birth control and diagnose & treat STDs and are licensed to provide health care.
If you don't know where to go in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.

Colposcopy: A colposcopy is an examination of your cervix using a colposcope, an instrument like a high-powered microscope that magnifies your cervix. If you have abnormal Pap smears your doctor will refer you for a colposcopy. A colposcopy is performed by a trained clinician.
During the colposcopy the clinician will look for any abnormal cells. If they find anything that should not be on the cervix, they may take a biopsy, or a sample of the abnormal cells that will be looked at under a microscope. If the clinician decides to remove all the abnormal cells they may use one of several different methods. They may use Cryotherapy, which means they freeze the abnormal cells. Or Laser therapy, which uses a carbon dioxide laser to create a tiny beam of light to vaporize (turn into steam) the abnormal cells. Also available is LEEP, which stands for loop electrosurgical excisional procedure. It is a method that uses a small electrically charged loop to remove cells. The clinician might also choose to do a cone biopsy (conization), which means they remove a cone shaped piece of the cervix.
The following are some resources for more information about Colposcopy
Colposcopy.com
Teenwire.com
WebMD.com

Condoms: There are male and female condoms.

Male condoms: A sheath (a case or cover that protects) made of thin latex, rubber, polyurethane, plastic or animal tissue that covers a man's penis. It prevents sperm from reaching the egg. It is most effective when used with spermicide. 86% to 97% effective in preventing pregnancy when used alone, 99% effective when used with contraceptive foam, contraceptive sponge, or film.
For more information on Male condoms, click here.

Female condoms: A pouch made of polyurethane that is inserted into the vagina. It prevents sperm from reaching the egg. 77% effective in preventing pregnancy.
For more information on Female condoms, click here.

Advantages: Male and female condoms prevent the spread of most STDs and HIV. They can be bought over the counter in a drug store. Female condoms and male polyurethane condoms can be used if you or your partner is allergic to latex.
Problems: For male condoms: some men can not maintain an erection long enough to get the condom on, some people are allergic to latex and spermicide. The condom can break. For female condoms: the outer ring may slip into the vagina during sex. Some people are allergic to polyurethane and the lubricant. Some people have trouble inserting the female condom. You must be comfortable touching your vagina.
Many Family Planning and Health Clinics have free condoms available. If you don't know where to go for condoms in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.
The use of male and female condoms can lower your risk of getting STDs and HIV.
For more information about birth control methods, click here.

Conceive: to become pregnant.

Contraceptive: See Birth Control Method.

Contraceptive sponge: This barrier method of birth control is a small pillow-shaped polyurethane sponge, about 2 "+ inches around and inches thick and contains Nonoxynol 9. The sponge is inserted into a woman's vagina and has a concave dimple on one side that will fit over the cervix. The other side of the sponge has a woven polyester loop to help you remove it from the vagina. 84% to 87% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Advantages:It can be bought over the counter in a drug store. No major health risks. You use it only when you have sex. Can be used for many acts of sex during a 24 hour time period.
Problems: One time use makes it expensive. Some people are allergic to spermicide and polyurethane. Should not be used during menstruation or in the weeks after your have a baby, miscarriage or abortion. You must be comfortable touching your vagina.
The use of a contraceptive sponge can lower your risk of getting STDs . The use of a condom with this method will also help prevent the infection and spread of STDs and HIV.
More information about the Contraceptive Sponge.

For more information about birth control methods, click here.

Contraceptive Foam: Foam is a white cream that is the consistency of shaving cream and contains nonoxynol-9, which will kill sperm. You insert it into a woman's vagina no more than 30 minutes before you have sex. 74% to 94% effective in preventing pregnancy. Foam is 99% effective when used with condoms.
Advantages: It can be bought over the counter in a drug store. No major health risks. You use it only when you have sex.
Problems: One time use makes it expensive. Allergies to spermicide. You must be comfortable touching your vagina.
The use of contraceptive foam can lower your risk of getting STDs.
The use of a condom with this method will also help prevent the infection and spread of STDs and HIV.

For more information about birth control methods, click here.

Contraceptive Film: Vaginal Contraceptive Film (VCF) is a thin square of material the dissolves quickly when inserted into your vagina. When it dissolves it releases nonoxynol-9, which kills sperm on contact. 74% to 94% effective in preventing pregnancy. VCF is 99% effective when used with condoms.
Advantages: It can be bought over the counter in a drug store. No major health risks. You use it only when you have sex.
Problems: One time use makes it expensive. Allergies to spermicide. You must be comfortable touching your vagina.
The use of contraceptive film can lower your risk of getting STDs
The use of a condom with this method will also help prevent the infection and spread of STDs and HIV.

For more information about birth control methods, click here.


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Dental Dams: A square piece of thin latex that is used during vaginal-oral, and anal-oral sex. By placing the dental dam over the labia or the anus and licking the dental dam, not their partner's skin, a person can prevent passing bodily fluids that may contain STDs and HIV. A dental dam can be used to cover the penis during oral sex, but using a condom is easier.
Dental Dams are available at most family planning clinics and medical supply stores. If you can't find them, you can use plastic wrap (like Saran Wrap) from the grocery store, or cut open a condom or latex glove.

Depo Provera: Also called the Shot or Depo, Depo Provera is a shot of progestine you get from your doctor or clinician every 12 weeks. Like the pill, it prevents pregnancy by stopping the release of an egg and thickening the cervical mucus. Depo is 99.7% effective in preventing pregnancy.
Advantages: For Depo Provera one shot works for 12 weeks. No need to remember a pill every day. Can be used while breastfeeding. Some women don't get a period after a few months on Depo.
Problems: You have to return to the clinic or doctor's office every 12 weeks to get the next shot. Some women have irregular bleeding, weight gain, hair loss, headaches, & depression. These side effects can last a short amount of time like a few weeks, they can last for as long as you use Depo or it may take some time after you stop Depo for the problems, especially the hair loss and weight gain to correct itself. If you have a side effect that you can't stand, it may not go away until the shot wears off in 12 weeks.
If you don't know where to go for Depo in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.
Depo Provera does not prevent infection and the spread of STDs and HIV. The use of a condom with this method will also help prevent the infection and spread of STDs and HIV. For more information about birth control methods, click here.

Diaphragm: A shallow latex cup for which your clinician will fit you. You put spermicidal jelly or cream in the Diaphragm and then you put the Diaphragm in your vagina. The Diaphragm covers your cervix, preventing pregnancy by keeping sperm from entering the cervix and traveling to the egg. You must use the diaphragm every time you have sex and leave it in for 6 to 8 hours after sex. The Diaphragm is 82% to 94% effective.
Advantages: Can last several years. No major health risks. You use it only when you have sex.
Problems: Allergies to latex or spermicide. Some users consider it messy. Can increase the risk of a Urinary Tract Infection. You must be comfortable touching your vagina.
If you don't know where to go for a diaphragm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic. You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.
The use of a diaphragm can lower your risk of getting STDs. The use of a condom with this method will also help prevent the infection and spread of STDs and HIV.
For more information about birth control methods, click here.

Doctor: A doctor is a person who has gone to and graduated from medical school. In medical school the student, called a "med student", works in all areas of health care. The med student then decides what area they want to work in, and does a residency. In their residency they develop their skill in their special area. A doctor must have a current license to practice medicine.

Domestic Violence: Abusive physical or emotional acts between husbands and wives or between individuals in intimate relationships.
For more information on Domestic Violence, please click here for domestic violence related webs sites

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Egg: Also called an ovum. Eggs are a woman's reproductive cells and are released by the ovary. When the egg joins with a sperm, it can begin a pregnancy.

Effectiveness Rate: This information is given when discussing birth control methods. The following formula tells us how well a birth control method prevents pregnancy.
The formula is: If 100 people use a birth control method correctly, the given percent will not get pregnant.
An example of this formula: The birth control pill is 99.9% effective.
This means of 100 women using the pill correctly almost all of them,
Or 99.9 women will not get pregnant.

Emergency Contraception: Also called morning-after pill, ECP or post-coital birth control. The most common form of Emergency Contraception is the use of birth control pills, generally in a higher dose, to be used following unprotected vaginal sex to prevent pregnancy. The pills must be taken within 72 hours of having unprotected sex. If you are already pregnant, this medication will not work.

ECP may be obtained from a family planning clinician. Plan B, a brand name for ECP, is also available at a pharmacy. Women and men who are 18 or older can now purchase Plan B over the counter with proof of age. In most states, including Pennsylvania, women 17 or under will still need a prescription from a clinician for Plan B or other ECP methods.

If you don't know where to go for ECP in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.
More about ECP click here or check out Not-2-Late.com.

Ectopic Pregnancy:Also called a tubal pregnancy, this is when a fertilized egg grows outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube, but it can also occur in the ovary or intestines. A pregnancy occurring outside of the uterus cannot continue for very long before it becomes a health risk to the woman. An ectopic pregnancy is a life threatening condition. You need to call your doctor or clinic if your have any of the following symptoms: abnormal vaginal bleeding, pain in your lower belly, especially on one side, and/or neck, shoulder, or upper back pain.

Erection: A male gets an erection when the nervous system increases the blood flow to the veins and spongy tissues of the penis, causing the shaft to get temporarily longer, thicker and harder. It is normal for a an erection to occur without sexual stimulation.

Estrogen: A hormone usually made in a woman's ovaries. Estrogen's major effects are seen during puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy.

Evra: Also called "the patch", Evra is a new birth control method introduced in the spring of 2002. The patch is about the size of a matchbook, "pink-beige" flesh colored and contains estrogen and progestin. The patch can be worn on your buttocks, abdomen, or upper arm. It is changed each week for 3 weeks, and then you are patch-free for a week before starting the cycle over. The patch, like the pill, prevents pregnancy by stopping the release of an egg and thickens the cervical mucus. With correct use, the patch is up to 99.9% effective in preventing pregnancy. The patch is only available by prescription or through your family planning provider.
Advantages: Regular periods, less cramps with period, less acne, less premenstrual symptoms (PMS), and less anemia. Can prevent ovarian and endometrial cancer.
Problems: Must remember to change the patch each week. You shouldn't smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day. In rare cases, can cause blood clots, stroke, & heart attack. May not be as effective in preventing pregnancy in women who weight over 198 pounds.
For more information on where to learn about this method in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you. The patch does not prevent infection and the spread of STDs and HIV. The use of a condom with this method will help prevent the infection and spread of STDs and HIV.
For more information about Evra and birth control methods, click here.

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Family Planning Clinic: A family planning clinic is a place where you can go to get reproductive health care. Available services might be a routine gynecological exam, including a Pap Smear, breast cancer screening, STD screening and treatment, information about and methods of birth control, and pregnancy testing. Family planning clinics have services for men and women and teens.
For a list of family planning clinics in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.

Fertility Awareness: also called Natural Family Planning or Periodic Abstinence. The Fertility Awareness method of birth control requires a woman (with help from her partner) to pay attention to and keep notes on the changes in 3 areas of the body: cervical mucus, basal body temperature, & cervix changes. Many women use fertility awareness in combination with a barrier method during the fertile time of each menstrual cycle. Other women abstain from sex during the fertile time. In order to perform Fertility Awareness effectively, it is important to take a class or read a book on the subject.
Advantages: No side effects. It can be used when planning a pregnancy.
Problems: It can be hard to keep good records of your period and physical changes. If you have an irregular period, you may not be able to use this method. You may have less than 2 weeks of eachmenstrual cycle that are considered safe days to have sex without becoming pregnant.
If you don't know where to go for fertility awareness information in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.

Fertility Awareness does not prevent infection and the spread of STDs and HIV. The use of a condom with this method will help prevent the infection and spread of STDs and HIV.
For more information about birth control methods, click here.

Film, contraceptive: See Contraceptive Film

Foam, contraceptive: See Contraceptive Foam

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Genitals, Genital Tract: This is the medical term for our reproductive organs.

Genital Warts: Also called condyloma, genital warts are usually caused by the slow growing Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and are a sexually transmitted disease. Symptoms of genital warts are the appearance of a small, painless, hard spot much like regular warts. Women can get HPV on the labia, vaginal opening, and on the cervix, as well as other areas of the genital area. Men get warts mainly on the head and shaft of the penis. Genital Warts can be treated by a doctor or family planning clinician.
If you think you have genital warts, get an exam and treatment. If you don't know where to go for an examination and treatment in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.
Using condoms can help prevent infection and the spread of Genital Warts.

Gonorrhea: Also called "getting burnt", the drip, the clap and GC, Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a bacteria. You can easily be tested and treated for GC at your gynecologist or your local family planning or STD clinic. Women don't always get early symptoms of GC, but may notice an abnormal vaginal discharge. If GC is not treated it can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease in women. Men sometimes get pain or burning when they urinate and a thick discharge from the penis.
If you think you have Gonorrhea, and don't know where to go in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.
For more information about Gonorrhea visit the Centers for Disease Control
Using condoms can prevent infection and the spread of Gonorrhea.

Gynecological Exam: Also called a Gyn exam. An exam that checks a woman's reproductive system. A Gyn exam is performed by a doctor or clinician and may include a breast exam, and a pelvic exam. The pelvic exam has several parts, but is usually over quickly. The pelvic exam includes a speculum exam, a Pap Smear, testing for STDs, and a bimanual exam. During a bimanual exam, the clinician inserts one or two gloved fingers into the vagina and presses on your stomach with their other hand. By doing this they can feel your uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries and make sure they feel normal.
To learn more about a visit to a family planning clinic, including details on a Gyn exam, click here.
If you don't know where to go for an exam in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.

Gynecologist: A doctor who specializes in the care and treatment of the genital tract of women.

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Hepatitis: As of the beginning of 2001, there are 6 types of Hepatitis: A, B, C, D, E, and G. Hepatitis A, B, and C are considered sexually transmitted diseases. Each causes an inflammation of your liver.
For more information about Hepatitis visit the Centers for Disease Control.
If you don't know where to go for testing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.
Using condoms can prevent infection and the spread of Hepatitis.

Herpes: Also called HSV and Herpes Simplex Virus. Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a virus. Once you have Herpes, you always have it. You may not always have symptoms, but the virus lives in your body until an outbreak is triggered by stress, illness, your period or other factors. The symptoms of the first outbreak usually occur within 2 to 20 days of infection. Symptoms can be tingling and itching at the infected site, pain in your legs, buttocks, or genitals, followed by the appearance of red bumps. Within a day or two these bumps become watery blisters, which eventually break open and leave a shallow ulcer that may ooze or bleed. The blisters develop a scab and heal within 3 to 4 days. Although herpes can not be cured, there are medications that can make it reoccur less often and make the next outbreak less painful. You can be tested by your gynecologist or urologist, or at your local family planning clinic.
If you don't know where to go for testing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.
For more information on Herpes, visit the Centers for Disease Control.

Using condoms can decrease the transmission of and the spread of Herpes. Even though recent studies show Herpes can be spread when you have no symptoms like blisters or open ulcers, it is a good idea to not have sex or abstain as soon as you or your partner begins an outbreak!

HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is passed from person to person, by the transmission of body fluids (semen, vaginal secretions, blood, and mother's milk). You can get it by having unprotected vaginal and anal sex with an infected person. Or by sharing the needle of an infected person to inject drugs. An infected woman can also pass it to her unborn child during the pregnancy, or to her infant through breast milk. The HIV virus attacks the body's immune system. This is a simple explanation of HIV, for more info contact The Community HIV Hotline at (215) 985-HIV or The National HIV Hotline at 1-800-342-HIV, or HIV.org.

Knowing you are HIV+ before or while you are pregnant can also help you get care to reduce the chances you pass the infection onto your baby.
If you don't know where to go for testing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.
Remember, HIV can be prevented!
Using condoms every time reduces your chances of becoming infected with HIV. Abstinence from sex also reduces your chances. Not using injection drugs reduces your chances of contracting HIV.

Hormones: A hormone is a substance made in different organs in your body which is then carried to another part of your body where it takes effect. In family planning we talk mainly about your sex hormones. Women naturally produce estrogen and progesterone. Men naturally produce testosterone. Hormones are important as an person goes through adolescence, causing their body to change. In girls, hormones cause breast to develop and make their periods start. In women, hormones play a major role in the menstrual cycle each month. In boys, hormones cause the voice to lower and facial hair to grow.

Human Papillomavirus: Also called HPV. HPV is a slow growing virus that is a sexually transmitted disease. HPV is the primary cause of cervical cancer among women. Currently there are more than 30 types of HPV that can be passed from one person to another through sexual contact. Of the 30 types, most are called "low-risk" because they rarely become cervical cancer. Several are called "high-risk" because they have been linked to cervical cancer.
Most women and men infected with HPV have no symptoms, although some people with HPV get genital warts.

There is now HPV testing that can tell your clinician if you have a "high-risk" HPV type. If you have "high-risk" HPV your clinician may suggest you get a colposcopy.
For more information about HPV click here or visit the following websites:

The Centers for Disease Control
Planned Parenthood

If you think you have HPV, get tested. If you don't know where to go for testing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you. Using condoms can help prevent infection and the spread of Human Papillomavirus.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Testing: A test that can be done by the lab, either on a swab specimen or using the specimen collected for a Thin Prep Pap Test. This test will let your clinician know if you have a high risk type of HPV . For more information about HPV testing visit the following websites:

The Centers for Disease Control
Planned parenthood

If you think you have HPV, get tested. If you don't know where to go for testing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine: In June 2006, the HPV vaccine was approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for women between the ages of 9-26. The vaccine was created to prevent 4 of the most common types of HPV viruses from infecting a woman’s body. 2 of these viruses cause 70 percent of cervical cancer. This vaccine also prevents 2 types of HPV viruses that cause 90 percent of genital warts. It will not help treat or cure men or women who are already infected with HPV, and it will not prevent the spread of other types of HPV. The best time for women to get the vaccine is during puberty and before any sexual contact. For more information on the HPV vaccine, click here or visit The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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IUD: Intrauterine Device also called The Coil, is a small piece of plastic a clinician puts in your uterus. It may have copper or hormones attached to it. Although doctors are not entirely sure how the IUD works, they think it makes it hard for the sperm to swim through the uterus to reach the egg and it may prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. The IUD is 97% to 99% effective.
Advantages: Works for up to 10 years once inserted. No need to remember a pill every day.
Problems: Can make periods heavier and longer, with more cramps. If you have an STD with an IUD in place, you increase your risk of PID.
If you don't know where to go for an IUD in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.
An IUD does not prevent infection and the spread of STDs and HIV.
The use of a condom with this method will help prevent the infection and spread of STDs and HIV.
For more information about birth control methods, click here.

Latex: a man-made synthetic rubber, used to make male condoms.

LMP: LMP is shorthand for Last Menstrual Period. In the world of family planning and gynecology, the start date of your last menstrual period is important and a woman will be asked for the date every time she sees her clinician. LMP is used to decide if a woman needs a pregnancy test. It can also be important in deciding when to start on a birth control method.

Lubricant: A substance (like K-Y Jelly, saliva) that reduces or prevents friction and rubbing between two surfaces. In the world of family planning, lubricant is used to reduce friction and rubbing during sex. Use only water based lubricant with latex condoms, or the condom will fall apart during sex.

Lunelle: In 2000 the Food & Drug Administration approved Lunelle, a monthly contraceptive injection. Lunelle is one shot, which contains both estrogen and progesterone. You get the shot from your doctor or clinician once a month. It works like Depo Provera, but you need to get a shot each month. Like the pill, it prevents pregnancy by stopping the release of an egg and thickening the cervical mucus. Lunelle is 99.7% effective in preventing pregnancy.
Advantages: One shot works for 1 month. No need to remember a pill every day. Problems: You have to return to the clinic or doctor's office every 4 weeks to get the next shot. Lunelle has the same side effects as birth control pills.
If you don't know where to go for Lunelle in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.
Lunelle does not prevent infection and the spread of STDs and HIV. The use of a condom with this method will help prevent the infection and spread of STDs and HIV.
For more information about birth control methods, click here.

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Mammography: A special x-ray used to detect breast cancer, a mammography is an important part of good healthcare for women. Depending on her age, family history, and health history, a clinician will talk with a woman about her need for a mammography. It is often painless and quick, but must be performed in a medical setting or special mobile van by trained staff.
If detected early, breast cancer can often be cured.
For more information on where to get a mammography, check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.
You may want to visit a website for more information about mammography.
More about mammography.

Menstrual Cycle: Put simply, from on menstrual period to the next, a woman's body goes through several changes called the menstrual cycle. These changes are caused by the hormones in her body. As one hormone level, estrogen, increases, the lining of the uterus develops and prepares for a possible pregnancy. As the estrogen level continues to increase, about 14 days before the next menstrual period will begin, the ovary releases an egg and the progestin level increases and causes the lining of the uterus to thicken and get ready to sustain a pregnancy. By the end of this cycle the body has realized it is not pregnant and starts the menstrual period again. Many women have a 28 day menstrual cycle, but a large number have a shorter or longer number of days between periods.

Menstrual Period: Also called period, menses, your "monthly", your "friend". The bleeding that occurs through the vagina at the end of the menstrual cycle. It's actually the body getting rid of the lining of the uterus. This lining is renewed each month during the menstrual cycle. Every woman's period is different; some bleed for 2 days, some for a week. Many women have no symptoms prior to or with their menses, others have cramps, backaches, headaches, PMS, and/or crankiness.

Midwife: A registered nurse who has gone on for additional education and training. A midwife can only specialize in obstetrics (delivering babies) and gynecology. A midwife must have a current license to practice medicine.

Mirena: A new Intra Uterine System (IUD), Mirena has been available in the U.S.A. since December 2000, but has been used in Europe for over 10 years. Mirena is T-shaped, contains a progestin and is made of plastic. It is inserted into a woman's uterus by a clinician. Mirena works by thickening the cervical mucus, which makes it hard for the sperm to swim through the uterus to reach the egg and it may prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. Mirena is good for 5 years and is 99% effective.
Advantages: Works for up to 5 years once inserted. No need to remember a pill every day. Progestin makes most women bleed less and get fewer cramps during their menstrual period.
Problems: Can make periods heavier and longer during the first 3 to 6 months after insertion. Not recommended for women who are breastfeeding.
If you don't know where to go for an IUD in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.
An IUD does not prevent infection and the spread of STDs and HIV. The use of a condom with this method will help prevent the infection and spread of STDs and HIV.
More about Mirena

For more information about birth control methods, click here.

Monogamous: This term literally means that two people are in a sexual relationship only with each other. Most people use the word when they talk about an exclusive relationship with their partner. "My boyfriend and I have been monogamous for 6 months," meaning for the last 6 months, this person has only had sex with him and he's only having sex with this person.

Morning After Pill: See Emergency Contraception.

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Nonoxynol 9: The active chemical agent in spermicidal products such as foam, film, sponge, diaphragm cream or jelly and condoms. It kills sperm on contact. Some people are allergic to Nonoxynol-9.

Norplant: This birth control method involves the placement of six small capsules under the skin of your upper arm by a trained clinician. The capsules constantly release small amounts of hormones that prevent pregnancy by stopping the release of an egg and thickening the cervical mucous. Norplant is 99.9% effective.
Advantages: Works for 5 years after insertion. You don't need to remember to take a pill every day. Breastfeeding women can use it.
Problems: Some women report irregular bleeding, weight gain, headaches, & depression. The rods must be inserted and removed by a trained clinician.
If you don't know where to go for a norplant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic. You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.
Norplant does not prevent infection and the spread of STDs and HIV.
The use of a condom with this method will also help prevent the infection and spread of STDs and HIV. For more information about birth control methods, click here.

Nurse Practitioner: A registered nurse who has gone on for additional education and training. A nurse practitioner can specialize in many areas of health care, from obstetrics (delivering babies) and gynecology to working with the elderly, working with children, and providing family medicine care. A nurse practitioner must have a current license to practice medicine.

Options Counseling: This counseling takes place at a family planning clinic after a woman has had a positive pregnancy test. A trained counselor talks with a patient about her feelings about the pregnancy and the decisions that need to be made. During an options counseling session the patient may receive information and referrals for prenatal care, adoption, abortion, and available medical coverage. To read a Pregnancy Options Counseling Fact Sheet click here.
If you don't know where to go for pregnancy testing and options counseling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.

Pap Smear: A Pap smear is a procedure where cells are scraped from the surface of the cervix and examined in a laboratory, under a microscope. It is used for the early detection of cervical cancer and some infections. If detected early, cervical cancer can often be cured. A sexually active woman should have a Pap smear once a year. A Pap smear can be performed by a clinician in a family planning clinic.
To learn where to go for a Pap smear in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.

Partner: Also called boyfriend, girlfriend, and lots of other things. In family planning, a partner is any person(s) with whom you are having sex.

Pelvic Exam: See Gynecological exam.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: Known as PID, or simply "pelvic infection", PID is a general term for an infection that affects the uterus, fallopian tubes, and/or the ovaries. PID is often the result of an untreated sexually transmitted disease (STD) like Chlamydia or Gonorrhea. The most common symptom is pain in the lower abdomen. The pain can be sharp or dull and last until you seek treatment. Other symptoms include vaginal discharge, pain or bleeding during or after sex, back or leg pains, and a fever. See your gynecologist or visit a family planning clinic if you think you have PID. If you don't know where to go for testing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.

Physician Assistant: An individual who has gone through a special educational program to become a physician assistant (PA). A PA can specialize in many areas of health care, from obstetrics (delivering babies) and gynecology to working with the elderly, working with children, and providing family medicine care. A PA must have a current license to practice medicine.

Pituitary Gland: The gland at the base of the brain that produces many hormones including those important to human reproduction.

Polyurethane: This is a type of man-made, synthetic rubber. It is used to make male and female condoms and contraceptive sponges. Fewer people are allergic to polyurethane than latex.

Pregnancy Test: A test that can tell if you are pregnant. A pregnancy test can be performed on a woman's blood or her urine. The test checks for an elevated human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which occurs when a woman is pregnant. A blood test must be done at a clinic or lab. A urine pregnancy test can be bought over the counter at drug stores and done at home. You may want to get a second urine test at your doctor's or family planning clinic to confirm the outcome of the test you did at home.
If you don't know where to go for testing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.

Premenstrual Syndrome: Also called "PMS". Premenstrual syndrome is a set of physical and emotional experiences associated with the menstrual cycle and usually occurs during the 2 weeks prior to a woman's menses. Symptoms include breast tenderness, headaches, bloating, increased appetite, cravings for sweets, salt, and alcohol, acne, lower back pain, cramping, lower abdominal pain, irritability, tiredness, depression and mood swings. Many women have some level of PMS. If your PMS makes it hard to live a normal life, call your doctor or family planning clinic for help.
If you don't know where to go for information about PMS in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.

Prenatal Care: The care pregnant women should receive during her pregnancy to assure a healthy baby. It is important to go to a doctor or family planning clinic as soon as you suspect you are pregnant. If your pregnancy test is positive and you plan to continue the pregnancy, you will be sent to a prenatal clinic. The staff will talk to you about how to take care of yourself and your baby.
If you need more information about prenatal care and you don't know where to go Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you, or visit iVillage online.

Progesterone: A hormone produced in the ovaries of women that are important in puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy. Called Progestin when it is manufactured for use in birth control methods like the pill.

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Rape: Sexual intercourse against a person's will. Rape is considered an act of violence rather than a sexual act.
Rape categories can include:

  • Acquaintance rape- when a person rapes a person he or she knows
  • Marital rape- Rape of a person's spouse
  • Statutory rape- sexual intercourse with a person who has not reached the age of consent

For more information on Rape, please click here for Rape related websites.

Reproductive System: This is a term used to describe all the body parts in both men and women that are involved in the process of sex, pregnancy and having a baby.

RU486: This is the research name of Mifeprex. It is the medication used in some medical abortions.

Safe Sex: This is a phrase that means protecting yourself and your partner from Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV. Safe sex means you don't let any of your partner's body fluids (semen, vaginal fluid, blood) enter your body. Ways to have safe sex include:

  • always use a condom during vaginal, and anal sex,
  • always use a condom &/or dental dam during oral sex,
  • enjoy activities other than oral, vaginal, or anal sex.

Safe activities are hugging, cuddling, kissing, and massaging your partner.

SelectPlan for Women: A program that is available to women who are Pennsylvania residents and who meet certain eligibility requirements. It covers selected family planning services and supplies, so most of the services you normally receive at our family planning clinics will be free-of-charge! Click here for more information.

Semen: Also called ejaculation or cum, Semen is the whitish fluid a man ejaculates. It contains sperm.

Sexual Intercourse: Also called sex, making love, and "being together". It is the sexual joining of 2 people. In family planning, intercourse usually means penetration by the penis into the vagina, anus or mouth of another person.

Sexually Transmitted Disease: Also known as STDs, sexually transmitted infections, STIs, venereal disease and VD. An STD is any disease that is passed from person to person mainly through sexual contact. You can get an STD in different places in your body. The most common places are the vagina, vulva, urethra, penis, anus, mouth and throat.
Infections considered STDs are Chlamydia, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Genital Warts, Herpes & Trichomoniasis.
Along with checking under the specific infection name in this glossary, look at fact sheets for each STD when you visit The Centers for Disease Control website.
If you don't know where to go for testing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.

For more information about sexually transmitted diseases (STD's), click here.

Speculum: An instrument used to check the health of your vagina and cervix, a speculum is a metal or plastic instrument shaped like a duck's bill, and about 5 inches long.
To learn when and how a speculum is used during a gynecological exams click here.

Sperm: The mature male reproductive cell that joins with a woman's egg and causes pregnancy. Sperm travels in semen.

Spermicide: Any substance that kills sperm. The word spermicide is also used to categorize a type of birth control method. Spermicides are sold over the counter and are found in foam, cream, jelly, film, suppositories and contraceptive sponges. Inserted deep into the vagina 10-15 minutes before intercourse, spermicides contain chemicals that immobilize sperm without harming vaginal tissue. Most spermicides lose their effectiveness one hour after insertion. Nearly any woman who wants to use them can use spermicides. It is best to use them with male condoms to increases the effectiveness in pregnancy prevention.
The use of a spermicide can lower your risk of getting STDs. The use of a condom this method will also help prevent the infection and spread of STDs and HIV.

Sponge: See Contraceptive Sponge.

Syphilis: Caused by a small spiral-shaped bacteria that gets into the blood stream, Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that spreads through open sores or rashes and enters the mucous membranes of the genitals, mouth and anus. Left untreated, syphilis is a very serious disease. The disease has 4 stages. The first symptom of syphilis is a painless sore called chancres. A chancre can look like a pimple, blister, or open sore. A doctor or family planning clinician can test and treat you for syphilis.
If you don't know where to go for testing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.
Using condoms can prevent infection and the spread of Syphilis.
For more information visit The Centers for Disease Control

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Tampons: A bullet or tubular shaped product made of a cotton-like material. The tampon is inserted into a women's vagina during her menses, and the tampon absorbs her menstrual blood. The tampon has a string attached to its bottom part, to allow a woman to remove it. Tampons should be removed regularly and should be used only when a woman is having menstrual bleeding.

Testosterone: An androgen or sex hormone that is produced in the testes of men and in smaller amounts in the ovaries of women.

ThinPrep Pap Test: The ThinPrep pap test is a recently developed test that, like the Pap Smear test, is designed to test for changes in cells that may lead to cervical cancer. To perform the Thin Prep the clinician scrapes cells from the surface of the cervix with a swab. The swab is then rinsed in a special container that has liquid in it. The container and the liquid are sent to a laboratory where the test is performed. Unlike the conventional Pap Smear, a Thin Prep sample can also be used to test for high risk Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes cervical cancer.

For more information on the ThinPrep Pap Test, check out these other online resources:
Quest Diagnostics
Thin Prep
http

To learn where to go for a Thin Prep pap test in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic. You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.

Toxic Shock Syndrome: An illness that occurs in women, often if a tampon or diaphragm is left in the vagina for too long. Symptoms are a fever, vomiting, diarrhea, aches, and a sunburn-like rash. If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor or clinician.
If you have questions about Toxic Shock Syndrome and don't know who ask in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.

Trichomoniasis: Called trich, it is a sexually transmitted disease. Symptoms include a bad smelling discharge from the vagina that is often yellow-green or whitish-grey. There may also be itching and irritation. Men often have no symptoms. Trich can be treated by a doctor or family planning clinician.
If you don't know where to go for testing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.
For more information visit the Centers for Disease Control.
Using a condom can prevent infection and the spread of trichomoniasis.

Tubal Ligation: Known as "having your tubes tied" or female sterilization. A tubal ligation is a surgical procedure in which the fallopian tubes are cut, tied, or burned to prevent the sperm and the egg from meeting. This is a permanent way to prevent pregnancy. A tubal ligation does not interfere with menstruation or sexual pleasure. A tubal ligation is 99.8% effective in preventing pregnancy.
Advantages: Permanent. No lasting side effects.
Problems: May not be reversible. Some women get infections and have discomfort following the operation.
If you don't know where to go for a tubal ligation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.
A tubal ligation does not prevent infection and the spread of STDs and HIV. The use of a condom with ths method will help prevent the infection and spread of STDs and HIV.

For more information about birth control methods, click here.

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Urinary Tract Infection: Also known as a UTI, cystitis, and honeymoon cystitis, a urinary tract infection involves infections of the urethra, bladder, uterus or kidneys (all the parts of your body involved when you urinate or pee). Both women and men get UTIs. Symptoms include lower back pain, burning and/or painful urination, feeling like you have to urinate all the time (called urgency), and blood in your urine. A UTI can be easily treated by a clinician.
If you don't know where to go for testing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.

Urologist: A doctor who specializes in the care and treatment of the urinary tract of both men and women, plus the genital tract of men.

Urethritis: Inflammation of the urethra (the tube through which the urine travels from the bladder to the outside during urination). The most common symptom of urethritis is pain during urination (dysuria).

Vaginal Discharge: Every woman has a vaginal discharge that is normal and healthy for her. This discharge may change in thickness and amount throughout her menstrual cycle, but usually is the same color and odor. If a discharge becomes a different color or develops an odor, she should be examined for a possible STD.

Vasectomy: Known as male sterilization, a vasectomy is a surgical procedure in which a segment of the vas deferens is removed and the ends tied, or burned to prevent the sperm from leaving the scrotum. This is a permanent way to prevent pregnancy. A vasectomy does not interfere with a man's ability to ejaculate or with his sexual pleasure. A vasectomy is 99.8% effective in preventing pregnancy.
Advantages: Permanent. No lasting side effects. Same day, out-patient surgery.
Problems: May not be reversible. Some men get infections &/or have discomfort after the operation.
If you don't know where to go for a vasectomy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas, click here or call The CHOICE Hotline at (215) 985-3300 for the name of a clinic.
You can also check your local yellow pages under Family Planning or Health Care for a clinic near you.
A vasectomy does not prevent infection and the spread of STDs and HIV. The use of a condom with this method will help prevent the infection and spread of STDs and HIV.
For more information about birth control methods, click here.

Withdrawal: A not very effective form of birth control that means a man pulls his penis out of the vagina before he ejaculates. Withdrawal, when used every time a person has sex is 82% effective in preventing pregnancy.
Advantages: No medical side effects.
Problems: Requires great self-control. Pre-ejaculation fluid may contain sperm, causing pregnancy.
Withdrawal does not prevent infection and the spread of STDs and HIV. The use of a condom with this method will help prevent the infection and spread of STDs and HIV.
For more information about birth control methods, click here.

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ANATOMICAL GLOSSARY REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM
(related glossary terms indicated in bold)

The Male Body

Penis: The organ from which a man ejaculates and urinates.
Scrotum:

The pouch suspended from the groin that contains the testicles. The scrotum helps regulate the temperature of the testicles.

Anus:

The opening in the buttocks from which body waste is expelled.

Testicles: The male sex gland that sits inside the scrotum. Sperm is produced here.
Epididymis:

The network of tiny tubes that connects the testicles with the vas deferens.

Vas deferens: The tube that carries sperm from the epididymis to the urethra.
Urethra:

The tube through which urine and semen pass to leave the body.

Glans penis:

The head or tip of the penis.

Cowper's Gland: Glands on either side of the urethra that makes a discharge which lines the urethra when a man gets an erection. The discharge makes the urethra less acidic so it won't kill the sperm as it passes through the urethra.
Urinary bladder: The organ where urine is stored until you urinate.
Prostate: A gland that produces the milky fluid that, along with the sperm makes up the semen.
Rectum: The lower part of the large intestine, that ends at the anus.

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The Female Body

Clitoris: A small band of erectile tissue that forms a sensitive bud.
Anus: The opening in the buttocks from which body waste is expelled.
Labia: Two folds of skin that cover and protect the clitoris, urethra and vaginal opening. When we become a teen, the labia become covered with pubic hair.
Vulva: The external parts of the female reproductive organs.
Urinary bladder: The organ where urine is stored until you urinate.
Urethra: The tube and opening that carries urine from the bladder to exit the body.
Vagina: The canal which extends from the labia to the cervix. It receives the penis during sex and a baby passes through the vagina during birth.
Cervix: The narrow bottom portion of the uterus that opens into the vagina.
Uterus: The womb. A hollow pear shaped organ.
Rectum: The lower part of the large intestine, that ends at the anus.
Fallopian tubes: The tube that extends from the uterus to each ovary. They carry the egg from the ovary to the uterus.
Ovary: The female sex gland. The eggs are produced here.

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Glossary


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