Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are as old as mankind itself. In fact, they’re even referenced in the Old Testament.
You might have also heard the term STI (sexually transmitted infection) used as well. Today, the term STI is starting to replace STD. This has to do with the negative stigma that surrounds the word disease.
Although diseases and infections are technically different, the terms STD and STI are often used interchangeably.
But no matter what they’re called, STDs can pose serious health risks to whomever they infect. And teenagers are especially susceptible. People aged 15-24 make up only 25% of sexually active Americans yet account for 50% of all people with new STDs.
Interested in learning how you can better protect yourself? Continue reading and we’ll walk you through the most helpful tips for preventing STDs.
One of the best ways to prevent the spreading of STDs during sexual intercourse is by using protection. Let’s take a look at some of the most common protections.
Using condoms is an excellent method for contraception as well as a way to prevent the spreading of STDs. In fact, they are the only form of birth control that also protects against STDs.
They are extremely affordable and many health clinics even give them out for free. They are also easy to use.
All you have to do to effectively use a condom is roll one onto your penis right before sex. This will prevent contact of skin and fluids between you and your partner.
Condoms are one-time use only so be sure to use a different one each time you have sex.
There’s no prescription required and they often have zero side effects. If you’re allergic to latex then you should consider using a material like lambskin.
There are also flavored condoms that are designed specifically for oral sex.
Dental dams are a method of protection that should be used only for oral sex. However, if you’re performing oral sex on a penis, it’s recommended that you use condoms instead of dental dams.
For oral sex on a vagina or anus, you should use a dental dam.
So what is a dental dam? It’s basically a protective barrier that you can use during oral sex. They’re made of a stretchy material like latex and are placed over the genital area during oral sex, from start to finish.
They can be flavored or unflavored.
It’s important to wear protection during oral sex because unprotected oral sex can potentially lead to the spreading of gonorrhea, herpes virus (types 1 and 2), HIV, chlamydia, and HPV.
Don’t Have Sex if You’re Experiencing Symptoms
If you are experiencing symptoms such as sores, warts, odd discharge from your vagina, penis, or anus, you shouldn’t have sex. This is also true if you are experiencing pain, itching, or redness in the genital area.
If you are showing symptoms like these, you might spread an STD during sex. You can also end up having a painful experience yourself. Plus, your sores might pop and become infected.
If you suspect that you or your partner might have contracted an STD, or if you recently started having unprotected sex with a new sexual partner, it is important that you get tested.
Your test results will not only help you be more aware of what’s going on inside your body, but they will help inform you as to what type of STD prevention method you should use in the future.
Remember, just because you don’t show any symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have an infection. It’s estimated that up to 1 million people in the United States have Hepatitis C and don’t even know it.
The kind of test and screening you might undergo varies based on a number of factors. Typically, it will either involve a blood or urine sample. If you have sores, a health practitioner might swab that area for analysis.
Outercourse is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spreading of STDs. It involves sexual activity but without any kind of penetration.
Popular forms of outercourse include dry humping (or grinding), using sex toys, kissing, and masturbation. These methods are not 100% effective but they are especially useful if you or your partner are showing signs of a breakout.
Although a lot of people don’t like to hear it, abstinence is the only 100% effective way of avoiding pregnancy and also stopping the spread of STDs.
Although abstinence can mean different things to different people, it generally refers to refraining from all sexual activity.
This helpful post shows that anyone who is sexually active is at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
With that said, it’s still possible to contract certain STDs through nonsexual means. Using contaminated needles for activities such as drugs, tattooing, and steroids can lead to people contracting HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
The Importance of Preventing STDs
Educating yourself and your partner is the first step to preventing STDs from spreading. Although all of the methods listed above might not work for everyone, it’s a good idea to keep them in mind.
Most importantly, whenever you have sex with a new partner, use protection and find out what diseases they can confirm to have. Asking about STDs might not be the sexiest thing, but not asking is definitely not worth the risk.
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