Unless you abstain from having oral, vaginal and anal sex, there’s no guaranteed protection to prevent sexually-transmitted diseases. However, you should take as many precautions as you can to prevent becoming infected with an STD.
It’s important to educate yourself about the different sexually-transmitted diseases. You should understand how they are spread, how to protect yourself and what the treatment options are if you become infected. Our website has information about the most common STDs, including videos and links to other resources, such as the STD Fact Sheets published by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
You can protect yourself against hepatitis B and human papillomavirus by getting vaccinated. Find out if you were vaccinated for hepatitis B when you were younger and get the vaccination if you weren’t. The CDC recommends that teenage girls and women under age 26 get the HPV vaccine before they become sexually active. It recommends that teenage boys and men under age 21 get the vaccine before they become sexually active.
Have a Mutually Monogamous Relationship
One of the best ways to protect yourself from getting sexually-transmitted diseases is to be in a long-term relationship with someone who doesn’t have STDs, and to mutually agree that you will only have sex with each other. You should both get tested for STDs to ensure that neither of you are infected, and you must be faithful to your commitment to monogamy.
Have Fewer Sex Partners
You can lower your risk of getting an STD by having fewer sex partners whom you know. It’s important for you and your sex partners to get regular tests for sexually-transmitted diseases, and to share the test results among each other. Having more than one anonymous sex partner increases the likelihood that you will get an STD.
While condoms don’t provide guaranteed protection against sexually-transmitted diseases, they are and effective way to reduce the transmission of an STD during oral, vaginal or anal sex. Learn the right way to use a male latex condom, and use one every time you have sex.
Get Tested Regularly
It’s very common for people to have a sexually-transmitted disease and not know it. Many people don’t experience any symptoms or mistake the symptoms as some other disease or infection. The only way to know whether you have an STD is to get tested regularly, ideally at the same time as your partner. If you and your partner don’t get tested and get treatment at the same time, you can pass a sexually-transmitted disease back and forth repeatedly. The CDC recommends that sexually-active adults get tested every six months, and that men who have sex with men get tested every three months.
Abstain From Sex During Treatment
If you get an STD that can be cured with antibiotics, abstain from sex until you’ve completed your prescription and you’re sure that the STD is cured. Until you’re cured of the disease, you can still spread it to other people.
Anonymous STD Testing
Don’t ever let fear of someone finding out you have an STD prevent you from getting tested and getting treatment. You can have anonymous STD tests by following the instructions in our free guide to anonymous STD testing. Each day you wait to get tested, you might be jeopardizing your health and your anonymity.