Sexual Transmitted Infections (STIs) are infections that are spread from one person to another by skin-to-skin or fluid to fluid contact during unprotected oral, anal and vaginal sex. You can also get some of these infections from needles used for tattoos or piercing, or for injecting drugs, when equipment is shared, reused, or not sterilized.
STIs often have no symptoms . You can get an STI and not know it, or the symptoms are so mild that you might not notice them. Years from now you can still pass it on to others. If left untreated, STIs can have severe consequences on your health and on your ability or your partners ability to have children.
The only way to know for sure if you have an STI is to be tested. It is free and easy to do, at these locations. If you have any reason to think you might have been exposed to an STI, you need to get tested. Early treatment can make all of the difference.
STI prevention is everyone’s individual responsibility. You need to think about what method is best for you. Depending on your beliefs and values, there are several choices you can make
Talk to your partner
Before you start having sex, communicate openly with your partner about STIs and protection against STIs. Talking about these things before you start having sex builds trust and respect.
Latex condoms and dental dams should be used correctly every time you have oral, anal and vaginal sex, even if penetration does not take place. Only use water-based lubricants, like K-Y jelly, Astroglide or glycerine, with latex condoms. Oil-based lubricants, like petroleum jelly, baby oil or cooking oil, can cause latex condoms to break and a broken condom gives you no protection.
Limit your number of sex partners– The more partners you have, the higher your risk of exposure to infection. Choose only to have sex with partners you know and trust.
Keep sex toys clean. When sharing toys always cover them with a condom. Use a new condom everytime you share a sex toy.
Avoid oral sex if you, or your partner, have cuts or sores in the mouth or the genital area.
Avoid risky activities, such as:
Have regular check-ups
If you are sexually active, visit your doctor or nurse at least once a year. If you regularly engage in sex with different partners, get tested every time you switch partners.
Is when you only have sex with one, uninfected partner who only has sex with you. To ensure you’re both free from infection, get tested before you start having sex. Even if you show no symptoms, it is still possible to have an STI.
Masturbation is another possibility. It can be an alternative to sexual intercourse or oral sex. But if you do decide to be sexually active with another person you need to practice safer sex to reduce the risk of getting an STI. There are a number of different ways of practicing “safer sex” and reducing your risk of infection.
Abstinence is another way to avoid getting an STI.
Abstinence means choosing not to have any kind of sexual activity that leads to an exchange of body fluids. This includes oral sex, vaginal sex, anal sex, and any activity that involves skin-to-skin contact in the genital area.