One in two sexually active people will contract an STD by the age of 25. This staggering statistic shows how important it is to be aware of your risks of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Preventing STDs can protect you against illnesses, cancers, and many other serious medical issues. There are steps you can take to ensure that you stay safe and healthy while sexually active. Read on to get informed about how you can best avoid catching an STD.
Sexual History Is Important
The number of partners you have increases your risks of contracting an STD. Each partner you have sex with may have had a number of other partners, which increases your chance of contact with a transmitted disease or infection.
Don’t be afraid to ask the sexual history of your current sex partner. It’s important to know how many partners they have had, and if they used protection with each one. Your sexual history is not something to be ashamed of, rather it is information you and your partners should be willing to share to keep each other healthy.
You Should Get Tested
Regular screening for STDs is crucial for sexually active people. Not all signs or symptoms show up right away, and some are asymptomatic. Regular testing is the only way to be 100% sure that you are free of any STDs.
Make sure your partners are also being regularly tested. Having sex with someone who is unwilling to be tested, or unwilling to share their test results with you, is a big risk. If they aren’t willing to share their test results with you, they aren’t worth being sexually active with.
Protection is Not Optional
Every sex act needs a condom in order to prevent STD transmission. Vaginal, oral, and anal sex are all ways in which you can contract a variety of STDS.
You may not think you need a condom when you’re just having oral sex, but studies show that mouth and throat cancer can be caused by HPV transmitted through oral sex.
Don’t rely on your partner to provide protection for your sexual encounters, or use their lack of planning as a reason not to use it. Carry your own condoms to make sure you are always protected.
Condoms with spermicide do not decrease your chances for contracting an STD. Some women actually suffer irritation and inflammation from the spermicide.
Avoiding Risky Sex Reduces Your Chances
Risky sex acts, ones that can break the skin and expose you to blood, put you at higher risk. If the skin is torn, even if it doesn’t bleed, bacteria and viruses can pass through. Anal sex is particularly high-risk because the tissues in the rectum are delicate and prone to tearing.
Body fluids can carry STDs. Any sexual contact with someone who is infected creates a high-risk environment, no matter how safe you are.
Sexual activity under the influence of drugs and alcohol can cause impairment of judgment and make you less likely to practice safe sex.
You Can Get Vaccinated Against Some STDs
14 million Americans contract HPV every year, but you can be vaccinated against some strains of it. The Gardasil vaccine is available for people between the ages of 9 and 26 years of age and protects from 9 strains of HPV.
Vaccines are also available for Hepatitis B, which is transmitted through blood and bodily fluids. The vaccine for HBV is a part of your childhood immunization schedule, but if you were not vaccinated as a child you should follow up with your care provider.
Be Smart About Preventing STDs
The only way to ensure you are preventing STDs is to abstain from sexual activity completely. If you are sexually active, however, it is extremely important to practice safe sex through the means outlined above.
Protecting yourself should always be a priority in your sexual relationships. If you have questions about STDs, are seeking treatment, or need to schedule a regular screening, contact the providers at Sohan OB-GYN today. We offer a full range of gynecological services in the New York area.