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close this bookYou, Your Life, Your Dreams: A Book for Adolescents (FCI, 2000, 213 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentEVALUATION FORM
View the documentACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
View the documentFOREWORD
View the documentA NOTE TO PARENTS, TEACHERS AND OTHER ADULTS
Open this folder and view contentsCHAPTER 1: ADOLESCENCE: THE BIG CHANGE, THE BIG CHALLENGE
Open this folder and view contentsCHAPTER 2: YOUR CHANGING BODY
Open this folder and view contentsCHAPTER 3: BOYS
Open this folder and view contentsCHAPTER 4: GIRLS
Open this folder and view contentsCHAPTER 5: BASIC BODY CARE
Open this folder and view contentsCHAPTER 6: TAKING CARE OF YOUR HEART AND HEAD
Open this folder and view contentsCHAPTER 7: CHANGING RELATIONSHIPS: YOU AND YOUR PARENTS
Open this folder and view contentsCHAPTER 8: FRIENDSHIPS AND FALLING IN LOVE
Open this folder and view contentsCHAPTER 9: SEXUALITY AND SEX
Open this folder and view contentsCHAPTER 10: TAKING CARE OF YOUR SEXUAL HEALTH
Open this folder and view contentsCHAPTER 11: PREGNANCY AND CONTRACEPTION
Open this folder and view contentsCHAPTER 12: PRESSURED SEX AND SEX AGAINST YOUR WILL
Open this folder and view contentsCHAPTER 13: DRUG ABUSE
Open this folder and view contentsCHAPTER 14: REACHING YOUR DREAMS
View the documentGLOSSARY
View the documentSOURCES

GLOSSARY

Abdomen

The trunk of the body below the ribs, containing the stomach, liver, guts and reproductive organs. Also called the belly.

Abortion

The ending of a pregnancy. It can happen on its own (spontaneous abortion or "miscarriage"), or it can be caused by a medical procedure (induced abortion).

Abstain

To avoid doing something. For example, you can decide to abstain from sex or from drugs or alcohol.

Acne

A skin problem found chiefly in adolescents and marked by a lot of pimples (spots) especially on the face.

Acquaintance rape

A rape committed by someone who is known by the victim, such as a neighbour, friend, relative, etc.

Addiction

A dependency on a drug. A person with a drug addiction cannot function without taking the drug.

Aggressive

Being forceful, unkind and hostile towards other people.

Alcohol

Beer, wine and "hard" liquors are types of alcohol. Alcohol makes people feel relaxed and less self-conscious. It removes their inhibitions and slows down reactions. Alcohol is addictive and can cause long-term health problems.

Allergy

A bad reaction of the body to a food, drug or other substance. When a person is allergic to something, they may have reactions such as itching, sneezing, rashes and difficulty breathing or shock.

Ampulla

The place in the male reproductive system where semen is stored.

Anaemia

A health condition in which the blood is weak and thin. It is often caused by lack of iron in the diet. Signs include tiredness, pale gums, tongue, eyelids, palms and soles of the feet, and lack of energy.

Anaesthetics/Anaesthesia

A painkiller medicine used to ease pain and discomfort during an operation.

Antenatal

The period before birth. For example, antenatal care is the care needed by a woman throughout pregnancy/before birth.

Anti-fungal cream

A medicated cream that kills fungi, which are certain parasites that can grow and live in or on your body, such as in the vagina or on the feet.

Antiseptic

A medical substance that prevents the growth of bacteria. Antiseptics are used to prevent infections.

Anus

The opening of the body where waste (faeces) comes out.

Areola

The ring of darker-coloured skin around the nipple of the breast (male and female).

Aspirations

Dreams for the future. They are ambitions, long-term goals and hopes of doing something great and being someone successful.

Assert (assertiveness, assertive)

To state clearly, confidently and strongly without being hostile, rude or nasty. To assert oneself is to stand up for oneself.

Assumption

A belief that is not necessarily based on complete factual information. If you make an assumption, you arrive at a belief based on whatever information you have. However, your assumption may be proven wrong by additional information.

Awkward

A feeling of being uncomfortable, ill-at-ease, embarrassed, clumsy or self-conscious.

Bladder

The organ in which urine is stored before leaving the body.

Buttocks

The round, fleshy part of the body a person sits on.

Caesarean section (or C-section)

A medical operation to take the baby out of the uterus by making a cut in the woman's abdomen (belly). This operation is performed when a woman is not able to deliver the baby through the vagina.

Calorie

A unit that measures the amount of energy in foods.

Candidiasis

A yeast infection in the vagina. Symptoms of candidiasis are increased discharge from the vagina and itching.

Cannabis (also called marijuana, banghi, hash, weed)

Cannabis is a drug that comes from the leaves of a plant. People smoke the leaves, but sometimes there is a stronger version made from the stems of the plant. Cannabis can make people feel relaxed, happy and sleepy. Cannabis can limit your ability to make decisions and can cause intense feelings of panic or fear.

Cavity

A hole in the tooth caused by decay or rot.

Cervix

The opening or neck of the womb.

Circumcision

In a man: when the loose fold of skin (foreskin) at the end of a man's penis is removed. In a woman: when part or all of a woman's genitals are removed.

Clitoris

The small, pea-shaped organ in a woman's genitals that is a centre of sensation and sexual pleasure. It is located just in front of the opening of the urethra.

Cocaine

An illegal drug that makes a person high. It is extremely addictive.

Condom (rubber, protector)

A soft tube made of rubber that is put on a man's penis before sexual intercourse. Condoms provide protection against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Criticise

To find fault with; to say negative things about something or someone.

Crush

A feeling of intense admiration and liking for someone. Crushes usually last a short time, unlike love, which may last for a long time.

Dandruff

Flakes of dry skin on the head.

Date rape

Rape committed by a boyfriend. For example, when a boyfriend forces his girlfriend to have sex against her will, it is considered date rape.

Deodorant

A product that hides strong under-arm odour.

Depression

A feeling of being extremely sad and hopeless. Depression is a serious emotional problem, which may result in difficulty thinking and sleeping, as well as loss of appetite (desire to eat), and thoughts about suicide (killing oneself).

Detergent

A strong cleansing soap, usually used for cleaning laundry.

Ejaculation

The release of semen from a man's penis.

Embryo

The term used between the second and eighth week of pregnancy to refer to the mass of cells that will become a foetus.

Emergency contraception

A contraceptive method that can be used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, such as if the condom broke or slipped. To be effective in preventing pregnancy, emergency contraception must be taken within a few days of unprotected intercourse. Emergency contraception does not cause abortion.

Empathy

The ability to understand someone else's concerns, worries, fears and needs. Being empathetic means that you can imagine yourself in the shoes of someone else and understand how they feel.

Erection

When the penis becomes hard and stiff as a result of feelings of sexual excitement.

Exploit

To use someone or something (usually negative). To take advantage of someone.

Fallopian tubes

The two tubes that lead from the female ovaries to the uterus (womb). After an egg is released from one of the ovaries, it travels down these tubes to the uterus.

Female circumcision (also called female genital mutilation-FGM)

A traditional practice in which all or part of the female genitals are removed. This practice has negative health consequences and is considered by many people to be a violation of girls' and women's rights.

Fluid

A liquid. Sexual fluids are the vaginal discharge or the male semen.

Foaming tablets

A method of contraception. The woman puts foaming tablets into her vagina just before sexual intercourse. The foaming tablets contain a substance that kills sperm.

Foetus

The term used to refer to a baby in the uterus (womb) from the ninth week of pregnancy until birth.

Follicles

Tiny holes in the skin out of which hair grows.

Foreskin

A fold of delicate skin that covers the tip of the penis of an uncircumcised man.

Genitals

The private parts; the external sexual organs.

Genital warts

A sexually transmitted infection that causes fleshy bumps to grow in the genital area.

Glands

Cells in the skin that perform a certain function. For example, sweat glands produce sweat or perspiration, which helps cool the body.

Gonorrhoea

A sexually transmitted infection that causes discharge from the vagina or penis.

Growth spurt

A period during which an adolescent's body grows quickly.

Haemorrhage

Heavy bleeding.

Hallucinations

Visions of strange things and hearing voices that others do not see or hear. Hallucinations can be caused by taking drugs.

Heroin

An illegal drug that causes hallucinations and is extremely addictive.

Herpes

A sexually transmitted infection that is caused by a virus and cannot be cured. It causes small painful blisters, usually on or around the genitals or around the mouth.

Heterosexuality

Sexual attraction toward members of the opposite sex (men being attracted to women, and women being attracted to men).

HIV/AIDS

HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is the virus that causes AIDS. The term "HIV/AIDS" is often used because infection with HIV eventually leads to AIDS, which is Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. A person has AIDS (rather than just being infected with HIV) when the immune system gets so weak it can no longer fight off common infections and illnesses.

Homosexuality

Sexual attraction between people of the same sex.

Hormones

Natural chemicals that are produced by the body and that serve as messengers that tell the body how and when to do things, such as grow.

Hygiene

The practice of keeping clean.

Hymen

A delicate piece of tissue inside the vagina. Because the hymen can be stretched or torn during sexual intercourse, hymens are seen as a sign that a girl is a virgin. However, some girls are born with no hymen at all. For others, the hymen can become stretched or torn during sports or for no obvious reason at all. Therefore, not having a hymen is not necessarily a sign that a girl is not a virgin.

Implants (Norplant)

A contraceptive method in which six small tubes containing hormones are put under the skin in a women's upper arm by a specially trained health worker. Implants prevent pregnancy for about five years, but can be removed sooner if the woman wants to become pregnant.

Implantation

When a fertilised egg attaches itself to the lining or wall of the uterus (womb). This is the beginning of pregnancy.

Incest

Sexual contact between members of the immediate family.

Infibulation

A form of female circumcision in which the external genitals (the labia) are cut away and the opening to the vagina is sewn almost completely closed.

Inflammation

Swelling caused by injury or infection.

Inhibitions

Feelings of shyness or embarrassment that stop you from shaming or embarrassing yourself in front of others.

IUD (or Coil)

The IUD (intrauterine device) or coil is a method of contraception. It is inserted into the uterus by a health worker to prevent pregnancy.

Khat (quat, miraa, mairungi)

A drug that is chewed in the Horn of Africa and in much of East Africa. It can make the person feel more energetic and confident, and less hungry. It can cause anxiety attacks, aggression and hallucinations.

Labia

The inner and outer folds of skin that protect the vagina. Also called the "lips."

Labour

The work that a woman's body does during childbirth to push the baby out of the body.

Lubricant

A cream or substance used to make dry surfaces wet and slippery. Lubricants are often used on condoms during sex.

Masturbation

Touching one's own body for sexual pleasure.

Menarche

The beginning of menstruation; the first menstrual period.

Menopause

The time a woman stops having monthly periods, usually between the ages of 45 and 55.

Menstruation, menstrual period, monthly period

The flow of blood and tissue from the uterus (womb) out of a woman's body, usually occurring every 28 days. Menstruation starts during adolescence and ends between the ages of 45 - 55.

Monogamous

The state being committed emotionally and/or sexually to only one person at a time.

Mucus

A thick, slippery fluid that the body makes to protect the inside of the vagina, nose, throat, stomach and intestines.

Nausea

A feeling of being sick to the stomach and wanting to vomit. This often happens during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and is also called "morning-sickness." Many drugs also cause a person to feel nausea.

Nervous

A feeling of being anxious, easily excited or irritated.

Nicotine, cigarettes

Nicotine is the active ingredient in cigarettes. It makes a person feel energetic, and it reduces the appetite. Nicotine is highly addictive. It causes many cancers, and it damages the heart and blood vessels.

Oestrogen

The female sex hormone produced by the ovaries. Oestrogen causes the monthly changes in the uterus, as well as the development of the breasts and the growth of hair in the female private parts.

Orgasm

The peak or height of sexual pleasure.

Ovaries

Two small egg-shaped organs on each side of the uterus (womb) that release an egg each month during a woman's reproductive years.

Ovulation

The release of an egg from one of the ovaries. It usually occurs 14 days before the next menstrual period.

Ovum, Ova (plural)

A female egg. A cell which, when released from a woman's ovary, may be fertilised by a man's sperm.

Pap smear

A test in which some cells are taken from the cervix and examined. This test is used to detect the early signs of cervical cancer.

Paranoia

Extreme and unreasonable worries and fears; often caused by taking drugs.

Pelvis

The bones in the area of the hips that surround the reproductive organs.

Penis

The male sex organ, also used to pass urine.

Periodic abstinence

A method of preventing pregnancy by avoiding having sex during the days a woman thinks she may be fertile.

Perspire

To sweat or release water through the skin.

Petrol, glue, industrial products in spray cans

Substances that can be inhaled for drug-like effects. These substances can make the consumer feel warm, comfortable and happy. They reduce fear and hunger. They can cause nausea, vomiting, disorientation and confusion, and they can damage the brain.

Physical

Of or relating to the body.

Pills (contraceptive pills, family planning pills, birth control pills)

A method of contraception that prevents the monthly release of an egg from the woman's ovaries. Each pill contains a small dose of hormones that prevent ovulation (the release of an egg). The pills must be taken every day

Pores

Tiny openings in the skin. If pores become blocked with dirt, sebum or sweat, a person may develop pimples.

Postnatal/postpartum

The time after childbirth or delivery.

Pre-ejaculate

A small amount of fluid at the tip of his penis as it becomes erect. This small drop is called pre-ejaculate because it appears before ejaculation. It can contain sperm and can cause pregnancy.

Premature

Happening too early or before the proper or usual time. For example, a premature baby is one born too early.

Promiscuous

Being too loose or too free, especially regarding sexual activity. Someone who is promiscuous has many sexual partners.

Protein

A body-building substance found in various types of foods, such as meats, eggs, milk, beans, and some vegetables. It is essential for growth and development of the body.

Psychological

Related to the mind or brain.

Puberty

The period of life when a person changes physically from a child into an adult. Most girls and boys enter puberty between the age of 10 and 16 years.

Pubic hair

The hairs that grow in the genital area or private parts.

Pus

White or yellow fluid that is the result of infection.

Rape

Forced sexual intercourse that takes place against a person's will. Females and males can be raped, but most often rape victims are female.

Saliva

A person's spit or the fluid in one's mouth.

Scars

A mark left on the skin after a deep cut, wound or burn has healed.

Sceptical

Feeling doubt and disbelief about something.

Scrotum

The bag or sac of skin that contains a man's testicles.

Sebum

An oily substance that is produced by the skin. Too much sebum can cause pimples.

Self-awareness

An awareness and understanding of one's own feelings and emotions.

Self-confidence

A feeling of trust in oneself and in one's own skills and abilities.

Self-esteem

Feeling good about oneself and respecting oneself.

Semen

A sticky, whitish liquid that comes out of a man's penis during ejaculation.

Seminal vesicles

Two glands in the male reproductive system where semen is made.

Sexual abuse

Any type of unwanted sexual contact, touching or fondling.

Sexual harassment

Any type of unwanted sexual attention, such as unpleasant sexual comments or physical gestures.

Sexual intercourse

The act by which a male's erect penis is placed inside the vagina of a female.

Smegma

The white lubricating substance under the foreskin of the penis. Smegma helps the foreskin slide back smoothly over the glands at the head of the penis.

Sperm

The male's reproductive cells. They are tiny cells that can fertilise a woman's egg, leading to pregnancy.

Spermicides

A slippery cream or gel that kills sperm. Spermicides are used as a method of contraception.

STDs

Sexually transmitted diseases. Infections that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact. Also called sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Sterilisation

A permanent method of contraception for either males or females. It is done through an operation.

Sterilised instruments

Medical instruments that are clean and free of bacteria that might cause infection.

Stimulate

To excite, arouse, make awake.

STIs

Sexually transmitted infections. Infections that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact. Also called sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Stunt

To hinder or block normal growth or development.

Syphilis

A sexually transmitted infection that causes small sores in the genital area. Later stages are marked by fever, headaches, and pain in the bones and muscles.

Tampons

Small hard pieces of cotton that are put inside the vagina to absorb or catch menstrual blood as it leaves the body. A string is attached to the tampon so that it can be pulled out.

Tendency

A habit or common practice.

Testes, testicles

Part of the male reproductive organs inside the scrotum where sperm and male hormones are produced.

Testosterone

The male hormone produced in a man's body.

Trait

A recognisable feature; an inherited characteristic.

Tranquilizers

Types of drugs that make a person feel very calm, relaxed and sleepy.

Unprotected sex

Sexual intercourse without any protection against pregnancy or STIs.

Urethra

A short tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.

Uterus (womb)

The muscular organ inside a woman's belly in which a baby grows.

Vagina

The passage that goes from a woman's womb to the outside of the body. It is also called the birth canal.

Vaginal fluid

The discharge or fluid that comes out of a woman's vagina. Strangely-coloured and bad smelling discharge may indicate an infection.

Vas deferens

The tube through which sperm travels from the testicles to the urethra.

Vessels

Small tubes through which a body fluid (such as blood) travels around the body.

Vulnerable

At risk of being physically or emotionally wounded; easy to hurt; easily damaged.

Vulva

The external female genitals.

Wet dream

The release of semen (ejaculation) during sleep. A wet dream is a way for the male body to get rid of excess sperm and semen.

Window period

The time between the moment when HIV enters a person's body and the moment when testing can detect the antibodies to HIV (3 to 6 months). During this window period, a person may test negative, even though he/she is infected with HIV and can infect others.

Withdrawal

When the man pulls his penis out of the vagina before he ejaculates.

Withdrawal symptoms

The bad reaction of the body when a drug to which one is addicted is taken away.

Womb

See uterus.

Zygote

An egg that has been fertilised by a sperm.