eg. How do you approach an STD test with a new partner?

Top Five Ways to Prevent STD Transmission

Published on February 27th, 2017

While any sexual activity carries the risk of transmitting an STD, there are ways to limit some of your risk factors and ultimately to prevent STD transmission.

#1: Wait

By waiting to have sex until you are both emotionally and physically mature, you can ensure that you are ready to handle conversations about your sexual health with a partner and use contraception correctly and regularly. The CDC reports that young people between ages 15-24 account for approximately 10 million new STD cases each year.

Furthermore, according to the CDC, young women are more biologically at risk for STDs due to the physical changes they experience during adolescence. Waiting helps eliminate some of these risk factors.

#2: Get Your Immunizations

Several vaccines are available for STDs. You can get vaccinated for Hepatitis A and B as well as HPV (human papillomavirus). HPV can lead to cervical, vaginal, and vulva cancer in women, penis cancer in men, and anal or throat cancer in both men and women. The HPV vaccination is most effective when administered to adolescents at the age of 11 or 12.

#3: Communicate With Your Partner

Being a responsible sexual person means having what can feel like awkward or uncomfortable conversations with your potential sexual partners. However, talking about risk factors is a key way to make informed decisions about your (and your partner’s) sexual health.

Some questions to ask your partner include

  • How many sexual partners have you had?
  • Have you engaged in high risk behaviors (these behaviors include having unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex, having a high number of partners, having sex before the age of 18, or having sex with someone who has injected drugs)?
  • Have you ever had an STD? If so, has it been treated or cured?
  • If you have an STD that can’t be cured, what is the best way to prevent transmission?

Don’t wait to have this conversation in the heat of the moment. Talk over your sexual health with your partner during a walk or other casual setting to ease some of the tension, so you both feel comfortable being honest about your status.

#4: Practice Safer Sex

Safe sex requires the use of barriers, such as male and female condoms, to limit the transmission of STDs.

For either male or female condom use to be effective, it is important to use the condom properly. The CDC provides clear instructions on using male condoms and female ones.

Male condoms are usually made of latex, so it is important to use a water-based lubricant with them, to prevent disintegration of the material. Do not use petroleum jelly.

Female condoms are lubricated, but extra lubricant can be applied. Again, use a water-based lubricant. Women should also avoid douching as it can irritate the vagina and increase the risk of STD transmission.

While spermicide can be used in coordination with male condoms to reduce the risk of pregnancy, spermicide can also irritate the vagina and increase the risk of HIV transmission.

#5: Abstain

While you can limit the risks associated with sexual activity by having safer sex and being in a monogamous relationship, no sex is completely without risk. Abstinence is the only way to entirely prevent your exposure to STDs.

Back to STD Knowledge Base

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