Five ways to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Simply put, infections spread from sexual contact are known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Some commonly known forms of STIs are herpes, gonorrhea, and HIV, among others. Although there is no sure shot way to avoid catching STIs/STDs, taking simple precautions while engaging in sexual activity can ensure safety for you and your partner. Here are five ways to prevent STIs.
Always use a condom
One of the most basic ways to prevent STIs is to always use a condom, every time you indulge in sexual activity, irrespective of whether you go into intercourse or not. Condoms can not only reduce your risk of catching STIs, but also help prevent unwanted pregnancy. So, always keep condoms handy before having sex. You can also consider using female/internal condoms.
Maintain sexual hygiene
Maintaining good sexual hygiene is crucial to avoid getting STIs. It is advisable to always have sex in clean and tidy surroundings, and make sure the toys, if any, are clean. Plus, women are advised to urinate right after sex, to avoid risk of urinary tract infections (UTI). Additionally, couples must use fresh underclothing, and keep wipes handy during sex.
Talk to your partner
It is important to communicate with your sexual partner(s) to ensure safe sex. If you are doing it with a new partner, share your sexual health histories, to play it safe. Further, communicate with your partner about what does and does not feel good in bed. It will enhance both the pleasure and your relationship.
Avoid having sex under the influence of alcohol/drugs
Avoid having sex when you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as it can affect your decision-making ability and lead to unsafe sex. Further, if you have sex with someone who injects drugs, your risk of getting an STI increases, because drug equipment like needles carry blood, that might be infected. Hence, avoid having sex with a partner who takes drugs.
Be careful during oral sex
Oral sex can trigger your risk of catching STIs. Hence, follow these tips: While practising oral sex on the penis, always use a non-lubricated latex/polyurethane-based condom. Further, while having oral sex involving the vagina or the anus, use a dental dam. In case a dental dam isn't available, cut open a condom to create a square and apply on mouth to create a barrier.
Note: Regularly get tested for STIs
If you are sexually active, especially with more than one partner, you must regularly get tested for STIs. Signs and symptoms may take their time to show up- so don't wait for them. If you are infected, seek treatment as soon as possible.Share this timeline