Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Facts about STDs and Students in the United States

Real Alternatives is committed to providing women with assistance as they make decisions regarding unplanned and crisis pregnancies. In addition, Real Alternatives provides information in a number of related fields, including STD statistics and methods of prevention. Sexually active teenagers put themselves at risk for a variety of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), not to mention unexpected pregnancy.

There are a number of facts teenagers should keep in mind prior to engaging in sexual activity. To begin, not all teenagers are sexually active. In fact, between 1991 and 2001, the rate of sexually active students dropped from 54 percent to 46 percent, a figure that has held relatively steady. Similar studies have reported that teenagers who do engage in sexual intercourse often express regret over the decision: nearly three in four high school females who have had sex state that they wish they had waited longer, a sentiment shared by more than half of males of the same age.

In addition to the knowledge that, in fact, everyone else is not doing it, teens should never let a friend or romantic partner pressure them by linking sex with love. If a partner claims that sex is the only way to express love, this partner is disregarding and disrespecting the other’s desires, which is in fact a very poor expression of love. Most importantly, “No” means no, and no further explanation should be necessary.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Genital Herpes and How It Spreads

Dedicated to the education and support of pregnant women and new mothers, Real Alternatives provides confidential education and guidance on gestation, parenting, and sexual health. Real Alternatives strives to help women understand the risks of various sexually transmitted diseases, including genital herpes.

A common sexually transmitted disease, or STD, genital herpes affects approximately one out of every six people in the United States. It is a viral infection caused by type 1 or 2 of the herpes simplex virus, the former of which is also a common cause of cold sores or fever blisters. These temporary growths typically develop from contact with infected saliva and are not related to sexual activity, though oral intercourse may cause genital herpes in a person whose partner has the oral form of the disease. Genital herpes may also develop from genital-to-genital contact when one partner has a genital herpes infection.

The infection stems from contact with infected skin or bodily fluids, though the infected partner does not need to have a visible sore or even a known diagnosis to spread it. It is not possible to contract genital herpes from linens, toilet seats, or other surrounding surfaces. It is also not likely that a sore covered with a condom can lead to transmission of the disease, though the infected person may have an uncovered sore that can cause cross-infection despite use of a condom.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Real Alternatives Achieves Successful Indiana Expansion

Real Alternatives is a nonprofit organization that leverages the support of more than 140 service providers to assist women in finding life-affirming solutions to unexpected pregnancies. Established in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1996, Real Alternatives has since expanded its services to Michigan and Indiana. In November 2014, Indiana became the third state to welcome Real Alternatives to its social services landscape. That month, the nonprofit pregnancy and parenting support organization partnered with the state to create and administer the Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program of Indiana, which directs women in crisis pregnancies to abortion alternatives such as counseling and mentorship programs.

At the time, Real Alternatives had served over 250,000 women at its 95 Pennsylvania centers, in addition to more than 1,700 women served at its 17 Michigan centers since 2013. Its expansion to Indiana allowed the nonprofit to deliver its life-affirming services to a host of new communities throughout Indiana. The partnership between Real Alternatives and the Indiana government began with a yearlong trial engagement, during which the state’s health department provided a $1 million contract with Real Alternatives to establish 16 pregnancy support centers. Over the course of the year, these centers served approximately 8,400 clients at nearly 17,000 visits, providing services to assist mothers both before and after giving birth.

This network continues to operate similarly to Real Alternatives programs in other states, with Real Alternatives administering the service provider payments, inspections, client advertising and education material purchases in order to provide free counseling support and resources to expectant mothers.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Real Alternatives Launches Mobile Outreach Program

Support Through Mobile Outreach

For more than 20 years, Real Alternatives has served as a vital source of hope and support to women who have become pregnant unexpectedly. Operating through a network of some 144 service centers dispersed throughout Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, Real Alternatives facilitates a variety of services, including mobile community outreach.

In February 2014, Real Alternatives helped launch a new initiative to expand the reach of its services in Philadelphia. Titled Beautiful Beginnings, the program kicked off with the nonprofit’s donation of a customized van to Archdiocesan Catholic Social Services (CSS), a Real Alternatives partner for over two decades. Thoughtfully decorated with the peaceful face of an infant, the van allows the organizations to provide mobile outreach services to new and expectant mothers throughout the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

The van operates from the Archdiocesan CSS center in Northeast Philadelphia, delivering counseling services to women struggling with crisis pregnancies. The two organizations marked the launch of the new initiative with an event held at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center, during which Bishop John J. McIntyre gave his blessing to the outreach vehicle and delivered a brief homily. In addition to providing immediate emotional support, the mobile outreach van staff is equipped to connect women with resources available throughout their communities. As described by CSS case manager Allison Kane, “This is important because we have a lot of families who need our services.”

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Tips for Supporting Your Partner During Pregnancy

Supporting Your Partner Diring Pregnancy
Through 144 centers in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Indiana, Real Alternatives provides compassionate, nondiscriminatory support and services to pregnant women and new parents. In addition to helping women through pregnancy, Real Alternatives operates a nonjudgmental hotline service (1-888-LIFE-AID) to help expecting fathers through the process. Upon learning that they're going to be fathers, many men may feel anxious, shocked, and afraid. Reaching out and discussing their feelings is important, as is finding ways to show their expecting partners that they care. The qualified counselors on the Real Alternatives hotline can help soon-to-be-fathers accurately express their emotions with their partners and provide guidelines to ensure that the new mothers’ needs are met throughout the pregnancy. This will require patience and understanding, and new mothers will feel more confident knowing that their partners are going through the process with them. For additional guidelines, visit realalternatives.org. Real Alternatives also offers a Spanish-language website, https://www.realalternatives.org/es/home-es/.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Real Alternatives’ Support Services for New Mothers

New Mothers
Providing human services programs spanning three states (Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Michigan), Real Alternatives leverages the power of existing provider centers to coordinate life-affirming pregnancy support services. Over the last two decades, Real Alternatives has assisted more than 300,000 women statewide in navigating the pregnancy and childbirth process.

The charitable nonprofit’s services extend to new mothers, with support that helps them to deal with the profound responsibilities associated with motherhood over the first 12 months. By calling 1-888-LIFE-AID, new mothers can access an array of services that address concerns such as caring for an infant and managing the associated expenses.

No-cost parenting classes are also available and help to build up the skills of the mother. Service providers also direct women to appropriate community resources in the areas of health care and insurance, as well as food, clothing, and even furniture. Every effort is made to keep the mother and her infant healthy. In cases where mothers have no place to stay, Real Alternatives can also provide temporary shelter for the new family.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The Role of Real Alternatives’ Service Providers

Real Alternatives provides a range of services to expectant and new mothers dealing with the stresses of parenthood. To provide counseling and support to clients throughout Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, Real Alternatives partners with more than 140 nonprofit service providers.

This network of service providers includes maternity homes, pregnancy support facilities, and social service and adoption agencies, all of which provide pregnancy-related services that help people understand the alternatives to abortion and help pregnant women confront the pressures that often come with pregnancy.

To become part of the Real Alternatives network, a provider must demonstrate that it has offered its services for at least one year and must undergo a rigorous screening process that typically takes between 45 and 60 days. In the majority of cases, the service providers in the Real Alternatives network employ staff members educated to the degree level in subjects including nursing and social work.