I am 16 years old. A doctor asked me if I have HIV or AIDS. What is HIV? What is AIDS?

HIV and AIDS are two different things.
HIV is a virus.
A virus is hidden in your body and can make you ill.
AIDS is a disease which can be triggered by this virus.
If you have HIV in your body for a long time, you can get AIDS.
AIDS can kill you if it is not treated.

There are good medications which fight HIV.
These medications reduce the amount of HIV in your body.
So you cannot infect anybody with HIV.
And you do not get AIDS.
You can live for a long time with these medications.

In Germany you do not have to pay for these medications yourself.
Your health insurance will pay for HIV medications.
People with HIV can decide who they want to tell.
The law prohibits people from outing others.

Be careful and abide by the following:

  • Do not have sex with any other person without a condom (vaginal or anal sex).
  • Do not inject drugs. Using syringes and needles is dangerous. Do not pass on syringes or needles to others.
  • If you are bleeding or have an open wound, make sure that no foreign blood enters the wound.

Text: AWO-Zentrum für Aidsarbeit Schwaben

I am a 17-year-old girl. My doctor asked me if I have been cut. What does that mean?

“Cutting” (or “female genital mutilation”) is when part of the vulva is cut off.
The vulva is the name for the female external genital organs.
You may have been cut when you were a small child.
You may not be able to remember anything about it.

There are several different forms of “cutting”.
Sometimes a small part is cut away.
Such as the “clitoris”.
This is at the upper end of the vulva.
Or the “labia”.
These are the flaps of skin around the vagina.

Sometimes the vagina is covered.
By joining the inner or outer labia.
Leaving only a small opening for urine and blood.

This may be normal for you. You may not have understood the doctor’s question.
Most women in Germany are not “cut”.
That is why the doctor asked you this question.
In Germany, “cutting” is banned and punishable by law.
This means that adults who cut girls are doing something wrong.

Cutting can harm girls’ health.
Girls can find more information or help here:

At what age am I allowed to have sex?

There are two main things to consider:
Your age and your relationship to the person you are having sex with.
This table shows the ages at which sex is permitted and prohibited:


Age 0-13 14-15 16-17 18-20 21+

Both people must want to have sex.
If one person doesn’t want to have sex, sex is prohibited.
Nobody is allowed to force you to have sex.

Do you live in a residential home?

You are not allowed to have sex under the age of 16.


Sex is prohibited between the following people:

  • Parents and children
  • Step parents and children
  • Male or female teachers with male or female pupils
  • Male or female carers with young people in a residential home or youth facility
  • On a training course, at work or on an internship, your male or female tutor is not allowed to have sex with you.
  • If you are living in a family as a foster child, your foster parents are not allowed to have sex with you.
  • Your legal guardian is also not allowed to have sex with you.

None of these people are allowed to force or persuade you to have sex.

If they do, get help immediately.

I am a 14-year-old girl. Am I allowed to have sex?

When we say “sex”, we mean all contact in intimate areas.

In Germany, this is generally permitted before marriage.

But only when both people want to!

It is also ok if you don’t want to have sex.


In Germany, the law states that:

Forcing someone to have sex is prohibited.

Nobody is allowed to force you.

You are always allowed to say no.


You can also change your mind.

Maybe at first you wanted to have sex.

You do not always have to feel the same.

People do not always want to have sex.

Sometimes it’s nice and sometimes it isn‘t.

And that is ok.


You are still very young.

Think carefully about what you want.

In another section, you can see the precise age restrictions for sex.