As a sexually active or knowledgeable person, you have most probably heard about STDs and sometimes, it’s even used as a scary campfire story in order to try to prevent someone from having sex. But the truth is really quite straightforward; if you engage in any sexual activity – oral included – you will most likely at some point contract a sexually transmitted disease. It is science. While this may seem inevitable, you can however limit the chances of getting any disease by following these simple and straightforward recommendations from experts:
Be open with your partner(s)
If you’re starting a sexual relationship with someone new, it’s always great to have a honest conversation about each other’s sexual health and then follow up by getting tested because let’s be honest, people lie or omit or are just plain unaware. Always start a new relationship only after getting your partner’s clean bill of sexual health. Seems a little tedious – and it is – but worth it.
Knowing your STD status can prevent you from spreading it to others and the earlier you find out, the better. If you’re not certain of your status or your partner’s then use condoms correctly and consistently.
Use protection properly
Haha you thought you escaped this one didn’t cha?
Proper use of condoms during sexual activity is an effective way to reduce the chances of getting STDs. But for this to work, it has to be consistent – none of that caught-in-the-moment schtick. If you are sexually active with more than one partner then its safest to use condoms everytime you have sex. Some experts even advise wearing condoms or dental dams during oral sex and using gloves for hand penetration (sounds fun doesn’t it?).
Allergic to latex? Well, be grateful to science because there are synthetic non-latex condoms. However, these types of condoms reportedly have higher breakage rates than their latex counterparts so be cautious.
Also be aware that women are advised to urinate immediately after intercourse as it can reduce the risks of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) by flushing bacteria that was introduced during intercourse.
Vaccines are a recommended means for preventing some STDs like hepatitis B and HPV. HPV vaccination is typically recommended for ages 11 – 26. While vaccination for adults over 27 is generally not recommended as they have probably already been exposed to the strain, you can still get vaccinated if directed by your Doctor.
Have less sexual partners
More sexual partners increase your risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases. Admittedly, you could still get STDs from that one person you are sleeping with but this shouldn’t be the case if you are both open, honest and getting tested regularly.
And if at some point, you get an STD, it’s not the end of the world as many STDs can be easily treated but be sure to keep any active sexual partner(s) in the loop and not engage in any sexual activity until you are cleared by a healthcare professional
How often should I get tested for STDs?
The CDC recommends all sexually active persons get tested at least once a year.
What are some STD symptoms to look out for in myself or partners?
Some common STD symptoms include;
- Sores around the mouth or genitals
- Painful urination
- Swelling or redness near the genitals
When you experience one of these symptoms or suspect you have a sexually transmitted disease, see a healthcare professional.