Are you ready for sex? Deciding when to engage or not engage in sexual relations is one of the most important decisions a person, of any age, can make. Some girls you know may already be sexually active. About 42 percent of all high school girls are having sex, according to a 2001 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is a decision that could affect the rest of your life. Take it seriously and know the risks, from getting pregnant to contracting a sexually transmitted disease, not to mention other emotional and physical risks that can come into play when teenagers have sex.

If you are sexually active, you can use one or more types of birth control to prevent getting pregnant. You can also lower your risk of contracting an STD by using condoms. No method, however, is 100 percent safe. The only foolproof way to keep from getting pregnant or avoid an STD is not to have sex.