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 10 Things You May Not Know About Teen Pregnancy 

Reported by MTV Act.

teenpregnancywomen
By Melissa Unger

Education is key when it comes to sexual health and avoiding teen pregnancy. Though teen pregnancy rates in the US declined 44% and teen birth rate 52% since the early 1990s, 3 in 10 girls still get pregnant by age 20. So it is not surprising teen pregnancy rates in the U.S. far outpaced those of other nations, according to The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Moreover, according to their national survey, the organization found that 4 in 10 teens say they never thought about teen pregnancy.

Today, May 7th, is the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. This day is sponsored by the not-for-profit group The National Campaign whose aim is to focus teens attention on the importance of avoiding too-early pregnancy and parenthood through an interactive online quiz. The quiz can be found at www.StayTeen.org and challenges teens to think carefully about what they might do “in the moment” through a series of “choose-your-own-adventures” type scenarios.

We caught up with Lauren Mann of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, to get some honest answers. She set the story straight from what is fact to what is fiction.

Here is a list of 10 things you might not know about teen pregnancy.

+ The Truth About Safe Sex and Safer Sex

Lauren says, “basically if you have sex…you can get pregnant.” She adds, “the only 100% effective way of not getting pregnant is not having sex, but if you are going to have sex you have to use an effective, reliable form of contraception. ”

+ You Can Always Say No

You don’t have to be a virgin to say no to a partner. Lauren points out, “just because you said yes [to sex] before doesn’t mean that you can’t say no now. Just because you have had sex in the past doesn’t mean that you have to have sex with every partner or every person you date in the future.”

+ Every Time Counts

So, if you’re having sex, Lauren says, “you have to use an effective reliable form of contraception every single time not just once, [or] not just most of the time, [but] every single time.” She adds, “If you have sex without using any type of contraception for a year there is an 85% chance of getting pregnant.”

+ Not Every Teen Is Doing It

Despite popular belief, Lauren says, “not everyone [every teen] is doing it [having sex]. You may think that everyone around you is doing it, but actually less than half of teens in high school have actually had sex, which means that half of teenagers are virgins.” Lauren stresses the notion of “staying teen”…[by] delay[ing] sex for as long as you can.

+ Guys Don’t Always Want To Have Sex

Lauren says that the truth about a guy’s libido is a lot different than we think. She says, “2 out of 3 teen guys say that they would rather have a relationship than sex. 1 in 5 guys have said that they have been pressured by a girl to go further sexually than they wanted to.” She added, “2 out of 3 guys agree would be okay with being in a relationship that doesn’t include sex, and more than half of sexually experienced guys would rather give up sex for a month than give up going online for a month.” She explains “nearly 3 out of 4 guys say they have more respect for girls who say no to sex, and 77% of teen guys say that sex can be intimating for guys among sexually active teen guys, and men, nearly half, say that they have had sex with someone and have regretted it afterwards”

+ The True about Birth Control

Lauren notes that there are a lot of myths when it comes to birth control. She say, “the pill is not completely effective from the first day you start taking it.” She adds, “you have to be on reliable form of contraception for a full month for it to start to become effective. So just because you took like 3 pills doesn’t mean that you can’t get pregnant, which is why if you just started the pill or the shot that you should definitely be using a second form of contraception, a barrier method, like condoms for the first few weeks. As for side effects, Lauren say birth control can’t make you fat or infertile. She stresses, “There is tons of contraceptive out there it is just about finding the right one for you. If you are uneasy about putting hormones in your body, there are kinds of barrier methods or non-hormonal methods of birth control out there. If you’re not good about remembering a pill, there are monthly types or yearly types that you don’t have to think about every day.”

+ When You Can Get Pregnant

Lauren points out the truth about getting pregnant. She says, “a lot of people think that you can’t get pregnant the first time [that you have sex] or that you can’t get pregnant during your period or you can’t get pregnant if you never had your period or you can’t pregnant if you’re standing up or if you’re in a hot tube. She points out again, that “basically if you have sex, any single time you have sex, you can get pregnant unless you are already pregnant.”

+ The Truth About Responsible Girls

In Lauren’s book, “just because a girl is on birth control or she carry condoms doesn’t means that she is even having sex. It just means that she is smart; she is being prepared.”

+ The Truth About The Effectiveness of Contraception

Lauren notes contraception is absolutely necessary when having sex, but the effectiveness depends on you. She says, “the male condom with perfect use is 98% effective, with typical use it is only 82% effective.” Lauren stresses that perfect use “means putting it on before you have sex, not starting to having sex then put[ting] on a condom…or taking it off in the middle.” With birth control, Lauren says, “the pill with perfect use [the] rate is more than 99% effective, but with typical use only 91% effective. She notes that perfect use includes never skipping a day and taking the pill at the same time of day every day.

+ Having A Baby Is Not The Answer

Lauren stresses having a baby does not strengthen a rocky relationship or make a guy stay in a relationship. She says, “that is not the case, a baby won’t make him stay.” She adds, “some teens think that having a baby [means] that a baby will love you unconditionally even if no one else does. [So] that is not a good reason to have a kid. Babies require more than love. They require money and energy and that is a 24/7, 365 yearlong commitment. It is more than just, this will be fun and this thing will love me forever.”

Photo: (Getty)

 Katy Perry, JWOWW & Lena Dunham Totally Heart Birth Control 

Reported by MTV Act.

Photos: (Getty)

Photos: (Getty)

You gotta love the numbers 11/12/13, and you’ve also gotta love the fact today is the first ever Thanks, Birth Control Day.

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The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy reports 99% of women use birth control, and 90% of adults agree that using birth control is the most responsible thing to do if you don’t want to get pregnant. We decided to take a look at some celebs who know that birth control is the way to go for preventing unwanted pregnancy.

+ Katy Perry

KatyPerry-Insert

“I love being in love, I love the idea of marriage and making babies — but not yet,” Katy said. “Not until I’m 30. I basically chew my birth control tablets — I chew them like vitamin C, I’m like, ‘nomnomnomnom’.”

Okay, so you don’t actually want to cram handfuls of birth control pills, but the idea is that Katy knows the importance of taking birth control and being on top of it. You can talk to your doc about the best kind of birth control for you and how you use it (‘cause you’ve got to use it right or it won’t work!).

+ Maggie Gyllenhaal

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“Planned Parenthood is there for every woman,” Maggie said. “This is an organization that works in communities to provide high-quality care like cervical cancer screenings, breast exams, HIV tests and birth control — often to women who would otherwise go without. It is the place you call if you are 16 and don’t know whom to ask about birth control. It’s the website that has answers in the middle of the night. It’s the health care resource that offers compassion and respect to women at times when they are incredibly vulnerable and afraid.”

If you don’t have a doctor or can’t afford birth control, you can always go to Planned Parenthood to get birth control that’s either free or at a reduced cost. They can also answer your birth control Q’s.

+ JWOWW

JWOWW-insert

“Nicole was my birth control,” JWOWW said about her BFF Snooki. “Having a pregnant friend is different from living with someone that is pregnant. I was like her boyfriend on some levels, being there for her and realizing she made an amazing transformation. She did a 180. You can’t be selfish anymore. I want to be selfish.”

Using birth control and not having kids unless you’re ready isn’t selfish — it’s responsible — but we like how JWOWW saw that pregnancy isn’t right for her right now and so she’s making sure nothing happens.

+ Esther Ku

EstherKu-Insert

“Just discovered Call The Midwife on Netflix!” said Esther Ku of “Girl Code.” “Makes me sit on the edge of my seat and overdose on birth control.”

Like Katy, Esther’s being colorful, because you don’t actually take birth control that way. But we definitely get what she’s saying about wanted to protect yourself from unwanted pregnancy.

+ Lena Dunham

LenaD-Insert

“You want a guy who cares whether you get health insurance, and specifically whether you get birth control,” Lena said.

Birth control is something both girls and guys can get passionate about, because an unwanted pregnancy is scary and no joke. You can learn more about birth control at Bedsider, and remember to Tweet #ThxBirthControl today!

 Maci Bookout Is Thankful For Birth Control. And Here’s Why. 

Reported by MTV Act.

Photo: (Getty)

Photo: (Getty)

Shows like “Teen Mom” and “16 and Pregnant” show how difficult being a teen parent can be. The good news is that becoming a teen parent is 100% avoidable, and on Thanks, Birth Control Day, Maci Bookout knows why there’s a lot to be grateful for in the different kinds of protection we have available.

Not all teens are sexually active, and sex is a super personal issue. But if and when you are active, birth control is a total must. Maci talks about birth control myths that sooo need to be buried, and her advice on talking to your parents about sex and protection.

ACT: Today is Thanks, Birth Control Day. Why are you thankful for birth control?

MACI: I am thankful for birth control because I was able to go to school and only have [my son] Bentley to worry about it. It’s been tough with him . . . I can’t imagine doing it with two kids. I’m also thankful for birth control because it’s given me the freedom to focus all my time and attention on Bentley, since I’m a single mom.

I do sex education stuff all the time, speak at high schools and colleges about pregnancy prevention, and I think that it’s really given me a chance to speak on birth control and share the information I have on it. I think abstinence is great if that’s someone’s choice. If they can stick it out, that’s amazing. But, I do have a boyfriend and we’ve been in a relationship for over a year now and we are sexually active, so since we’re not married and not in a place to have children right now, it’s nice I can count on birth control.

ACT: Since it can be hard to remember to take the pill each day, do you have any tips on how to stay on top of that?

MACI: You know, the first birth control I got on after I had Bentley was the pill and I was the worst at remembering it. So I started taking the Depo shot, which you get every three months. That was helpful for me because I wasn’t good at taking the pill and I would just go in every three months.

After a while, I actually switched to the pill again. I set the alarm on my phone and I kept the birth control in my purse at all times, because I always have my purse with me. My birth control would be right there with me and I’d take it when the alarm went off.

ACT: Everyone dreads “the talk.” What advice do you have for young people who want to ask their parents about birth control?

MACI: If they feel comfortable talking to their parents, I think it’s a very scary conversation to have, but would they rather have a conversation telling their parents that they’re pregnant or their girlfriend is pregnant? That’s a much harder conversation to have than the birth control conversation. It’s much easier to take a pill every day or get the shot every few months than it is to raise a child when you’re not ready for it.

ACT: Luckily, you have supportive parents. What resources are available for those who might not have the same support system?

MACI: My number one tip is find your local health department. Make an appointment and go there. You can get birth control and condoms for free. No one will know and you don’t have to have your parents’ consent. You make an appointment and get it; it’s that easy.

If you don’t live right by a health department, I would say buy condoms until you have an opportunity to see a doctor and get a prescription. If you can make one appointment, you can get a prescription for up to a year. You go back to your checkup a year later and get more. If you want birth control that lasts longer, you can get the Mirena [IUD] that’s inserted in you. It lasts five years. You don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to change it until five years is up. If you might be married by then and want children, you can have it taken out. When five years is up, you can get another one put in. There are tons of options.

MaciB2-insert

Photo: Macy and her moms! (Instagram)

ACT: When Bentley become a teen, what do you want him to know about sex that you didn’t?

MACI: I want him to be aware that at those times, I will be his parent and his friend. He can talk to me about the questions he has and I want him to know that birth control is a primary thing he needs to be effectively using the right way if he’s sexually active. I want him to know all the options of what’s available and do the right thing for himself and the relationship he’s in.

MaciFB-Insert

Photo: Bentley celerbates his 5th born day! (Instagram)

ACT: Teen pregnancy rates are down. What do you attribute that to?

MACI: I think there are a lot of things that are attributing to it. I hate to be biased, but teen pregnancy rates started dropping tremendously in 2009, after “16 and Pregnant” aired and “Teen Mom” has been on. I think a lot of it has to do with the show being on. Teen pregnancy always has been a huge issue in our country, but for the longest time it was an issue everyone hid from. If a girl got pregnant, she almost kind of disappeared. She left the school and moved on with her life and no one talked about it. I think our show has made people realize it’s an issue and we need to talk about it. We need to start thinking of what we’re going to do to fix it. It’s opening eyes and showing it’s okay to talk about it. These are conversations that need to be had with teens and their parents, teens and their peers. Schools are more open to talking about birth control.

ACT: What are some birth control myths you’ve heard? Can you clear them up for us?

MACI: Oh, Lord. I’ve heard that if you use two condoms, it works better than one. That’s not true at all. Two condoms would break easier. I’ve heard that if you are on your period, you can’t get pregnant. There’s a lot of negative talk about birth control, too, like it’s unhealthy and can hinder your ability to get pregnant later on. That’s also not true. I think ignorance and the lack of knowledge cause people to believe these things about birth control.

ACT: What are you up to these days? What can we see next from you?

MACI: Oh, man, I’ve got so many things going on. I’ve been hosting the after shows for “Teen Mom 2” and “Teen Mom 3.” As long as those continue, I’ll be hosting those on mtv.com. I’m in school still and I’ll be graduating next year, so that’s really exciting. Bentley just turned five, so he’s a little man now. He’ll be starting kindergarten next year, so I’ve got all kinds of things going on.

 Today Give Thanks To…Birth Control! 

Reported by MTV Act.

Photo: (Instagram.com/bedsider)

Photo: (Instagram.com/bedsider)

99% of American women have used birth control. Whether you’re on the pill, the shot, have an IUD or on another method, birth control can free up your life, let you pursue your goals, make sure you only have kids if and when you want them, and keep your own health up.

Today is Thanks, Birth Control Day, and even though birth control is such an important part of many people’s lives, it can still be a taboo subject. So let’s take away the shame and taboo-ness about birth control, because that can lead to more awareness, better use and fewer unwanted pregnancies. Here are some ways to take action through Bedsider, an online birth control support network:

+ Postcards!

Expecting-insert

Photo: (bedsider.org)

Bedsider has cute and funny postcards about some of the reasons we have to be thankful for birth control. Feel free to pass the good word around!

+ Tweet It

Use Twitter (or FB or IG or Tumblr) to talk about how birth control has positively affected your life and the lives of other people. Make sure you use the hashtag #ThxBirthControl to be part of the convo.

+ Thunderclap

Head on over to Thunderclap and support the Thanks, Birth Control campaign going on there. You’ll be able to spread awareness about it through social media.

+ Instagram

BCtruck2b-insert

Photo: (Instagram.com/bedsider)

You can check out Bedsider’s fun photos on Instagram, or share photos of what birth control allows you to do (you know, like continue your education or have your dream job without the extra difficulty of taking care of a baby).

+ Follow on Twitter

There’s lots to follow on Twitter, and we highly recommend you follow @Bedsider and @TheNC (The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy) to keep up-to-date on birth control information, education and campaigns.

 Today, Send Your Thanks To … Birth Control! 

Reported by MTV Act.

Photo: (Instagram.com/bedsider)

Photo: (Instagram.com/bedsider)

99% of American women have used birth control. Whether you’re on the pill, the shot, have an IUD or are on another method, birth control can free up your life, let you pursue your goals, make sure you only have kids if and when you want them and keep your own health up.

Today is Thanks, Birth Control Day, and even though birth control is such an important part of many people’s lives, it can still be a taboo subject. So let’s take away the shame and stigma of birth control because that can lead to more awareness, better use and fewer unwanted pregnancies. Here are some ways to take action through Bedsider, an online birth-control support network:

+ Postcards!

Expecting-insert

Photo: (bedsider.org)

Bedsider has cute and funny postcards about some of the reasons we have to be thankful for birth control. Feel free to pass the good word around!

+ Tweet It

Use Twitter (or FB or IG or Tumblr) to talk about how birth control has positively affected your life and the lives of other people. Make sure you use the hashtag #ThxBirthControl to be part of the convo.

+ Thunderclap

Head on over to Thunderclap and support the Thanks, Birth Control campaign going on there. You’ll be able to spread awareness about it through social media.

+ Instagram

BCtruck2b-insert

Photo: (Instagram.com/bedsider)

You can check out Bedsider’s fun photos on Instagram or share photos of what birth control allows you to do (you know, like continue your education or have your dream job without the extra difficulty of taking care of a baby).

+ Follow on Twitter

There’s lots to follow on Twitter, and we highly recommend you follow @Bedsider and @TheNC (The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy) to keep up to date on birth control information, education and campaigns.

 Celebs Get Wise on the VMAs Red Carpet [VIDEO] 

Reported by MTV Act.

Photos: (Getty)

Photos: (Getty)

Although people can’t stop talking about Miley‘s twerkfest and roaming foam hand, it wasn’t ALL that happened at the 2013 VMAs. We caught up with celebs on the red carpet to chat about what advice they’d give to their younger selves. Here’s what they had to say:

+ Watch Celebs Share Their Words Of Wisdom at the 2013 VMAs

When we asked celebs for their words of wisdom, the general consensus was, “chill out!” “I wish I just knew that it was okay to be 15, and not a grown up,” said “Awkward” actress Greer Grammer. “It’s not that big of a deal,” “Rivals II” reality star and two-time breast cancer survivor Diem Brown said of teenage drama. And if it’s unnecessary drama you’re trying to avoid, Machine Gun Kelly recommends using protection during sex. “When you don’t wear a condom, you can get a girl pregnant,” he told young fans. And the rapper is right! Three in 10 girls will get pregnant at least once before the age of 20.

Girl Get Your Mind Right” star Tionna Smalls obvi wants her young fans to get their minds right. She’d tell her “Smalls” self to finish school without any major hiatuses. And speaking of girls getting their minds right, “Jersey Shore” guidette Deena wishes she had been less trusting of guys as a teen. “Never trust what guys say,” she advised. Hah! We wouldn’t say neverrrrr, but it is important to be in healthy friendships and relationships with people you can trust. Love Is Respect, after all, and people who love you shouldn’t lie to you!

Follow the action widgets below to take our celeb advice off the red carpet and into the real world.

 3 Ways To Take Action On National HIV Testing Day 

Reported by MTV Act.

Photo: (@MTV on Vine)

Photo: (@MTV on Vine)

Today is National HIV Testing Day and we want you to raise the volume on the importance of getting tested and knowing your status!

1 in 5 Americans living with HIV don’t know they are infected. The only way to know is to GET YOURSELF TESTED! It’s Your (Sex) Life teamed up with Vine artist Khoa to spread the word about how you can do your part and take action to end AIDS. Check out the Vines below and be sure to head over to GYTNOW.org for more info.

+ Positive or Negative, We All Have a Role to Play

Whether you’ve tested positive or negative, we all have a role to play in ending AIDS. An AIDS-free generation IS possible. You can be part of the solution by always talking to your partner about knowing your status and getting tested and BEFORE you get between the sheets. If you’re negative, stay negative by using protection each and every time and getting tested regularly. If you’re positive, get treated (while there is not yet a cure there are very effective treatments available to help people with HIV live long and healthy lives) and also use protection. Love means protecting each other, which leads us to…

+ Wrap It Up Right

There are so many CRAY condom myths out there; you gotta be on your game all the time. When you use ‘em right, condoms are the ONLY method that protect against pregnancy and the sexual spread of HIV. IYSL has plenty of info to help you sort everything out. Head on over to our Condoms Dos and Don’ts section to find out why two isn’t necessarily better than one, where you can get ‘em, and more.

+ Know Your Status

HIV (and other STDs) often have NO symptoms. So stress less, take control of your sex life and get tested! It’s easy, fast (can get results in less than 20 minutes), and it doesn’t hurt (promise). Empower yourself to be in charge of your own decisions and make getting tested regularly part of your lifestyle. Find your local testing center like right now and stop procrastinating already!

 Eve Ensler on Love, Relationships + Ending Violence Against Women 

Reported by MTV Act.

Photo: (MTV)

Photo: (MTV)

If you’re a fan of girl power and positivity, chances are Eve Ensler’s work is on your digital bookshelf. The feminist powerhouse is responsible for getting the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway to rise up and protest violence against women for 1 Billion Rising, and for theater kids around the world to belt out The Vagina Monologues.

We had a chance to chat with Eve Ensler as part of MTV’s Pioneer Series. Eve stopped by to talk about her new book, In the Body of the World, an intimate memoir about her life and her recently won battle with uterine cancer.

The book is the most personal work she’s ever written, and details her journey to reclaim and get back in touch with her body. She reflected on her time spent in the Congo, how inspired she was by the women there (who have survived years of civil war and violence) and her own story of survival while undergoing cancer treatment. After kicking cancer’s butt, she re-emerged with a new appreciation for life and a wisdom for how the earth and body are connected. She urged people to appreciate the love in their lives beyond their significant others. Friends and family can give you the “big love” that sweeps you off your feet.

When asked what her one wish for the world is, not surprisingly she said to end violence against women. Having visited almost 70 countries, Eve said that the sad thing everyone had in common was the oppression of women. Eve wants women around the world to be empowered to walk, talk and wear whatever they choose, and not be harassed. She stressed that this is NOT a just women’s issue though. It’s up to men to rise up and come forward in support of the women in their lives. Men have as much, or more, of a role to play in ending violence against women.

Of course, at the heart of all of this is building healthy relationships — with yourself and others. To Eve, sex education should go beyond putting the condom on a banana and delve into how we want to be touched and treated.  We need to make sure men and women clearly understand what rape is, and know that no ALWAYS means no.   And beyond that, we should talk more about the positives of sex — creating a better understanding of the meaning of consensual sex, what feels good and the importance of making sure that both people are having a positive experience.

Be sure to check out Eve’s new book, In the Body of the World. For more info on sexual health head over to IYSL.

 Today Is National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy 

Reported by MTV Act.

Photo: (StayTeen.org)

Photo: (StayTeen.org)

The rate of teen pregnancy has been dropping in the last few decades, but three out of ten teenage girls will still become pregnant before reaching the age of twenty. In hopes of bringing the numbers down more, the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy got started.

+ Get Quizzed

Today is May 1 and many people are excited ’bout that. It’s also a milestone day as National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy turns 12 so Stay Teen has created a fancy, new online quiz. You can actually plug in your name, the name of your crush, and the name of your BFF, and the quiz comes up with little storylines. As you find yourself in different situations (from Halloween parties to prom night), the quiz asks how you’ll respond.

+ Protect Yo Self

To step away from online quizzes and get into IRL stuff, it’s important to be super knowledgeable about protection. If you’re sexually active now, it’s so VITAL you use protection every time. 90% of teens who don’t use protection are pregnant within a year. MTV’s It’s Your [Sex] Life can help you with the deets on protection options and how well each kind works. And if you’re not sexually active, all good, because it’s good to educate yourself on birth control and all that stuff before you jump in bed with your partner. That way you’ll be better prepared and know how to keep yourself protected.

In 2012, more than 700,000 people took part in the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, and hopefully this year will be even bigger and better. Becoming a teen parent is 100% avoidable. Learning about birth control can ensure you only become a parent as an adult, and only if and when you want to. So enjoy this glorious, new month and be safe while you do it!

 Wear Your Fave Pair of Jeans + Take a Stand Against Rape on Denim Day 

Reported by MTV Act.

Photo: (facebook.com/denimdayinlaandusa)

Photo: (facebook.com/denimdayinlaandusa)

It’s time to break out your favorite pair of jeans, because today (April 24) is Denim Day. Founded in 1999 by the non-profit Peace Over Violence, Denim Day is a rape prevention and education campaign. The non-profit was inspired by an Italian court case in the 1990s where a victim of sexual assault was wearing jeans.

We’ve posted about the importance of not joking about rape and more during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, so you know we’re wearing our favorite jeans today. If you want to get involved in the rape prevention/education campaign, we’ve got your covered. Here are four ways you can take a stand against rape on Denim Day.

+ Rock Your Denim

Got your favorite pair of jeans? Pulled that jean jacket out of the back of your closet? Whatever you’re wearing, make sure you tell people why you’re rocking the denim — bonus points if you tie in this year’s slogan: “There is No Excuse and Never an Invitation to Rape.” For friends and strangers who might want more information, send them to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) to get the facts.

+ Take the Pledge

Head over to the Denim Day site and pledge to wear your favorite denim today. You can also download the tool kit if you want to raise awareness in your neighborhood or at your school. It’s never too late to print out some of these educational posters and pass them out!

+ Support Your Local Rape Crisis Center

You can find your local rape crisis center. Call up your local center to see if you can volunteer and make a difference in the lives of survivors in your area. Encourage your friends to do the same!

+ Raise Your Voice

If you’re stuck with a dress code and can’t wear jeans, make sure you post to Facebook or Twitter to show your support of the campaign. Use the hashtag #DenimDay so others can join in on the conversation about rape prevention and education.

If you or someone you know need someone to talk to, the National Sexual Assault Hotline is free, confidential, and available 24/7 at 1.800.656.HOPE. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to someone over the phone, you can log on to the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline.

 It’s Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month: How To Spot + Stop Relationship Abuse 

Reported by MTV Act.

Photo: (Getty)

Do you know that one in three young people experience some sort of relationship abuse? February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and all month, organizations like Break The Cycle and Love is Respect want your help spreading love and awareness. Here are a few basic steps you can take to learn more and put a stop to relationship abuse.

+ Get Educated

Learn what is relationship abuse and how to spot and stop it. Relationship abuse comes in many forms — physical, emotional, sexual, and digital. Everything from extreme possessiveness, to checking someone’s email without permission, to physically harming a significant other is considered abuse.

+ Speak Up

Share your knowledge of dating abuse with friends and loved ones, and if you witness or experience dating abuse, say something! Whether it’s a stranger or a friend, a victim or an abuser, learn how to step in the right way when you notice something wrong.

+ Wear Orange

You can help fight relationship abuse with a simple fashion choice! Go all out and wear orange on February 11th, and when people ask you why you stole Snooki’s look, let them know you’re promoting healthy relationships. Pull your look together with orange socks, orange nails, or a really bad spray tan…and don’t forget to tweet pics of your cute ‘fit to @loveisrespect!

+ Get Help

If you or someone you know is either being abused or abusing someone, get help. There are too many Ryan Goslings in the world to waste your time on others — with or without fame and fortune. Contact Love is Respect at any hour for anonymous advice and helpful resources – chat with a peer advocate online, call (866) 331-9474 or text “loveis” to 77054.

 New Maps Show HIV Rates Nationwide: How Does Your Town Fare? 

Reported by MTV Act.

Photo: (AIDSVu)

Today is National HIV Testing Day, which means we encourage you to get yourself tested. I know it’s a scary thought, but it is possible to have HIV — and be spreading it — and not realize any of this because you feel fine. According to the CDC, one in five people in the US who are HIV positive don’t even know it! In order to help curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, AIDSVu is setting up new interactive maps to show the prevalence of HIV in America.

Visuals can be a great way to learn and AIDSVu is offering you maps that show how many people have HIV — from an overall look at the country to close-ups on local communities. You can see which parts of the US have a bigger concentration of HIV (like the South, for example) but also see how your county looks, or maybe even your city.

Why are some places redder (meaning more HIV cases) than others? That’s another thing AIDSVu wants to talk about. The places with more HIV tend to have more poverty, which can mean lack of health insurance and lack of education. If you haven’t been taught about how to protect yourself from HIV, or if you don’t have good access to condoms (or you can’t afford them because it’s that or eating dinner tonight), then we start having major problems.

AIDSVu also shows ratios of who has HIV, like men versus women or by ethnic group. Again, things are not created equal here, and it often keeps going back to lack of education and lack of resources. The numbers are scary, but the good news is you can prevent the spread of HIV. That’s why testing is so key. If you get tested, not only will you know your status, you can seek treatment, because it’s def. possible to live a long and healthy life with HIV.