Worried I might be pregnant

I AM 18 years old and have just written my matric. I am in love with a 22-year-old man. When we had sex I was not on the pill and he did not use a condom.

I have not had my period and now I'm afraid I might be pregnant. My parents will be so angry if I am pregnant and they will never forgive me.

I don't want a baby because I want to further my education.

A friend of mine had an abortion and ended up in hospital, so I am very scared to have one.

I am so scared. Who can help me? I am s desperate. Terrified, Kliptown

Dear Dudu:

I understand how very scared and confused you must be.

The first step you must take is to determine whether you are in fact pregnant. You can either buy a pregnancy test kit from a chemist or get a simple pregnancy test at your nearest clinic.

If you are pregnant it would be best to speak to your parents.

Of course they will be angry and upset, but once they have got over the shock they will hopefully offer their support and advice.

Your boyfriend will also have to be informed since he is equally responsible.

Please do not consider an illegal abortion because this can endanger your life and could prevent you from having children later in life.

If you do decide to have an abortion, you must ask your doctor to refer you. There are clinics especially for abortion, where they know how to treat women with respect and ensure everything is done safely and hygienically.

Women often drink various substances in an effort to induce an abortion and this can also be harmful, not only to the child you could be carrying but also to yourself.