Wednesday, November 29, 2017

An Overview of HPV Statistics in America

Real Alternatives is a not-for-profit health organization that provides women with a variety of services and support during unexpected and crises pregnancies. Real Alternatives also offers a wealth of information regarding related health topics, including sexually transmitted diseases

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 110 million Americans are living with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), at a cost of more than $16 billion annually. Studies have found that of the 20 million newly-reported cases of STDs every year, over 14 million are linked to human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. 

Nearly 80 million individuals of all ages in the United States live with HPV. The infection is incurable, though some symptoms can be managed with medical treatments. In many instances, HPV is passed between partners, and it can remain dormant for years without active symptoms. Some strains of HPV can cause genital warts or even cancer. 

There are a number of ways to mitigate one's chances of contracting HPV. Individuals are advised to get the HPV vaccine, which helps protect against the most common strain but not all of the strains. Practicing safe sex can lower the chance of contracting HPV or other STDs. However, living a chaste lifestyle (abstinence) until committing to a long-term monogamous relationship is the best and the most effective means of risk reduction.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Real Testimonies from Real Alternatives Clients

Real Alternatives provides support and information to women from all walks of life who have been impacted by an unplanned pregnancy. The Real Alternatives website,, features a number of stories from clients who have benefited from the support of the organization. 

The stories come from a host of women of different ages and backgrounds, a testament to the organization’s desire to provide help to any individual who seeks it. Certain accounts highlight the organization’s all-inclusive attitude in regard to age, as opposed to similar agencies that focus solely on helping younger women dealing with unexpected pregnancies. 

Other women have pointed to a lack of support upon learning about their pregnancy, including disapproval from family and friends and pressure to abort, or complete indifference from their partner. The informed support and welcoming approach of the Real Alternatives team, along with a number of approved service providers, helped these women to identify different ways to address their situation.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Sexually Transmitted Diseases Reach Record High in US

Real Alternatives provides easy-to-understand education surrounding pregnancy, parenting, and sexual health. Targeting its services to pregnant women and women of childbearing age, Real Alternatives strives to help its audiences make informed decisions.

According to recent data available through the Sexually Transmitted Diseases Surveillance Report, collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the incidence of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis has reached a record high in the United States. Chlamydia stands out as the most prevalent of these three diseases, the total number of cases having reached 1.6 million, as compared to 470,000 cases of gonorrhea and close to 28,000 cases of infectious syphilis. 

Close to 50 percent of reported chlamydia cases occur in young women, a percentage significantly higher than the incidence rate in other populations. New diagnoses of syphilis are present primarily in men, the percentage being highest in men who engage in sex with other men (MSM). There were also 600 new cases of syphilis reported in infants in 2016, a rate that indicates the widespread failure of readily available screening procedures.

The most dramatic increase in gonorrhea infection also rests with the male population, and particularly with those in the MSM category. Scientists believe that the 22 percent increase in men with gonorrhea is attributable largely to the resistance of the infection to common antibiotics.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Then-Governor Mike Pence’s Support of Indiana’s Real Alternatives

Friday, September 15, 2017

How to Support a Friend Experiencing a Crisis Pregnancy

Serving women and their families in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Michigan, Real Alternatives partners with these states’ social service agencies to offer free crisis pregnancy counseling and support. With close to 150 centers spanning the three states, Real Alternatives provides safe, empathetic, and non-judgmental advice. The organization also offers food, clothing, shelter, and ongoing parenting education. 

Many people will, at some point in their lives, know of someone who is considering an abortion. Knowing how to be supportive and helpful can be difficult, given the mixed messages that society and popular culture relay about the subject. 

Experienced pro-life counselors generally suggest that you remain loving and accepting of a friend who is experiencing a crisis pregnancy. They advise that you focus on the woman’s need to be heard, understood, and treated as an individual who is capable of making her own decisions. 

Other ways to help include offering practical assistance with activities such as household chores, transportation, and shopping, so that a woman can concentrate on caring for herself and her family.

Friends can also show that they care by staying positive and affirming through their words and actions the value of every human life, including those begun under less-than-ideal circumstances.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Early Pregnancy Symptoms

As the nonprofit administrator of parenting and pregnancy support services for Michigan, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, Real Alternatives has served over 275,000 women since it launched in 1996. Real Alternatives offers free pregnancy test kits at each of its 144 centers in the three states. 

Although the only way to be certain of pregnancy is by seeing a doctor, there are several early symptoms. One of the earliest signs is implantation bleeding, which can occur as early as eight days after conception when the unborn child starts to implant itself into the uterine wall. As a result, some women experience cramping and spotting. 

Other signs, which can appear as early one to two weeks following conception, include fatigue, headaches, frequent urination, swollen or tender breasts, and darkening of the areolas. The most common early sign is a delay or difference in menstruation. 

Typically, women miss their next period if they become pregnant, although some women have a lighter or shorter-than-normal period. If you're experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, visit a doctor or call 1-888-LIFE-AID.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Resisting Pressure to Have Sex as a Teen

Based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Real Alternatives teams up with government agencies in three states to assist pregnant women considering abortion. The organization offers empowering pathways to overcome those challenges associated with unexpected pregnancies. Real Alternatives provides free support and counseling that enable expecting women to choose life for their preborn baby.

The organization also provides a host of educational resources focused on preventing and treating STDs, as well as saying “no” should sexual pressure occur. This is particularly important during the teen years, when peer pressure is at its highest and romantic partners may have strong expectations of having sex. 

When under pressure, the best response is to assert one’s personal identity. Emphasizing that “everybody is doing it” is never a good reason for any activity. Having had sex before is similarly not a valid reason for continuing an activity that is risky and that feels uncomfortable.

If one is pressured to have sex before marriage, the ideal response is that there is a gulf between intention and action. Being married and wanting to marry are two very different things.