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Preventing STI's

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  • How to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

Some Basics...

  • A sexually transmitted infection (STI) is an infection that is spread through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It is also sometimes called a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
  • Examples of STIs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, HIV, pubic lice, and trichomonas.
  • Some STIs can be cured with antibiotics (gonorrhea, chlamydia).
  • Some STIs cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be reduced (herpes, HIV) by taking medicines.
  • Condoms are the only way to keep from getting STIs during sex. Condoms can also be used during oral or anal sex to prevent STIs.

How Are STIs Spread?

  • Most STIs are spread by body fluids during vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Semen, blood, and vaginal fluids can all spread STIs. Gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomonas are spread this way.
  • STIs can also be spread by touching sores during sex. Herpes is spread this way.

How Can a Person Avoid Getting an STI?

There are only two sure ways of not getting an STI:

  • Not having sex (abstinence)
  • Having one long-term sex partner who does not have any STIs

A latex condom works well to stop STIs from spreading during sex.

There are activities that do not spread STIs. These include holding hands, hugging, and touching. Kissing is usually safe. Make sure there are no sores on the lips or in the mouth. Touching semen during shared masturbation is usually safe.

What Things Don't Work to Prevent an STI?

  • Douching the vagina or taking a shower after sex does not prevent STIs.
  • Withdrawal is not a way to prevent STIs or pregnancy. This is when a man pulls his penis out before he ejaculates.
  • A person can get an STI more than once. Being treated for an STI will not keep someone from getting it again.
  • Using birth control pills, patches, or shots will not keep someone from getting an STI. Abstinence or a condom is still needed.

When to Call for Preventing STI's

Call Doctor or Seek Care Now

  • You had sex in the past 72 hours with someone who has HIV

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • You think you need to be seen

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • You are worried you might have an STI
  • You had sex with someone who has an STI
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • No symptoms
  • Questions about preventing STIs by using condoms

Care Advice

Condoms and STI Prevention

  1. What You Should Know:
    • A sexually transmitted infection (STI) is an infection that is spread by having sex with someone who has it. This can be through vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
    • There are only two 100% effective means of avoiding STIs:
      • Not having sex or oral sex (abstinence)
      • Having only one, long-term sexual partner who does not have any STIs
    • Condoms can help reduce the transmission of STIs during sex. Condoms can also be used during oral and anal sex to prevent STIs.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Getting A Condom:
    • Buy latex rubber condoms. If you are allergic to latex, you can use a plastic condom. Never use condoms made from animal skins because they can leak.
    • You can get condoms at health clinics, drugstores, grocery stores, and online. You do not need a prescription.
  3. Storing Condoms:
    • Store condoms at room temperature. Do not keep them in very hot or cold places or in sunlight.
    • You might want to keep a condom in your wallet or purse. This way you will always have one with you.
  4. Putting On A Condom - Instructions:
    • Hold the condom at the tip to squeeze out the air.
    • Roll the condom all the way down the erect penis. Do not try to put a condom on a soft penis.
    • If you use a lubricant during sex, make sure it is water-based. You can use K-Y Liquid or Astroglide. Do not use petroleum jelly, vegetable oil, or baby oil. These can cause a condom to break.
  5. Taking Off a Condom - Instructions:
    • After sex, hold onto the condom while the penis is being pulled out. This will keep the condom from coming off before the penis is out.
    • The penis should be pulled out while still erect, so that sperm (semen) doesn't leak out of the condom.
  6. Female Condoms:
    • There are condoms for women (such as Reality) that you can buy without a prescription.
    • These condoms are a plastic sheath that is placed inside the vagina.
  7. Pregnancy Test, When in Doubt:
    • If there is a chance that you might be pregnant, use a urine pregnancy test.
    • You can buy a pregnancy test at the drugstore.
    • It works best first thing in the morning.
    • Follow all package instructions.
  8. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Pregnancy test is positive or you have trouble with the at-home test
    • You think you need to be seen
    • You get worse

Hotlines and Internet Resources

  1. STI Resource:
    • American Sexual Health Association provides information on STIs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV/genital warts, herpes, and HIV/AIDS. It can provide referrals to local clinics.
    • Their website is at: American Sexual Health Association.
  2. Internet Resources:
    • American Sexual Health Association: This website has answers to your questions about sexual health and STIs. It can be found at I Wanna Know.

And remember, contact your doctor if you develop any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.

Last Reviewed: 12/15/2019 1:00:28 AM
Last Updated: 3/14/2019 1:00:27 AM

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