A younger cervix is more vulnerable to infection

[The Cervix – an excerpt from Sense & Sexuality]

Your cervix, the entrance to your uterus, has a vulnerable area one cell thick, called the transformation zone. It’s easy for HPV (the human papillomavirus, which can cause genital warts, and even cervical cancer) to settle in there. That’s why most teen girls are infected from one of their first sexual partners. By adulthood the transformation zone is replaced with a thicker, tougher surface. So it’s wise to delay sexual activity, or, if you’ve already started, to stop.

Even though these infections are common, and usually disappear with time, learning you have one can be devastating. Natural reactions are shock, anger, and confusion. Who did I get this from, and when? Was he unfaithful? Who should I tell? And hardest of all: Who will want me now?

These concerns can affect your mood, concentration, and sleep. They can deal a serious blow to your self esteem. And to your GPA.

The HPV vaccine is a major achievement, but the protection it provides is limited. You are still vulnerable to other infections like herpes, chlamydia, HIV, and non-covered strains of HPV. And of course no vaccine prevents a broken heart.