In The Know Zone

STD prevention


Since many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) cannot be cured or show obvious symptoms, prevention is the key to your sexual and overall health. The first step toward prevention is understanding the diseases. You should learn as much as you can about spread, symptoms, and treatment..

The best way to prevent getting a sexually transmitted disease is by avoiding sexual contact. Abstinence is the best way to prevent STDs. If you do decide to have sexual contact, there are things you can do to protect yourself and others from an STD.

What You Can Do

If you decide to have sexual contact, make sure to have a mutually monogamous sexual relationship with an uninfected partner. Having sexual contact with another person is a very intimate act. When you do decide to have sexual contact, it should be after having an established relationship with that especial person. You should be open and straightforward with each other. Talk and ask about previous relationships and about health. Even if you think it might be difficult for you to talk about these issues, it could help you prevent an STD and also have a healthier relationship.

Make decisions about engaging in sexual contact while sober. Using alcohol or drugs impairs your judgement and decision making skills.

If you decide to have sexual contact, always use a latex condom or other form of latex or polyurethane barrier (e.g., female condom). Even during oral sex, you should use some form of latex barrier between yourself and your partner. Latex barriers are sold at novelty stores. You can also cut a male condom lengthwise and use it as barrier.

If you are a teenager or young adult, try delaying sex as much as possible. Younger people tend to be at higher risk of developing STDs. This is due to how sensitive the body is to diseases at a young age. Also, the risk of STDs increases with the number of sexual partners a person has in a lifetime.

Additional recommendations for sexually active people include: getting regular checkups by a health care provider; learning common symptoms of STDs; avoiding sex during menstruation, avoiding anal intercourse, and avoid douching. Having sex during menstruation as well as anal sex increase chances of acquiring an STD. Douching removes the normal protective bacteria found in the vagina, so it increases the risk of developing diseases.

Remember most STDs show no signs or symptoms. This is especially true at the beginning of the disease. Infected persons might be involved in sexual contact and transmit STDs to others unknowingly.

In sum…

  • Delay having sex. Younger people can get STDs more easily.
  • Have a mutually monogamous (sex with only one person) sexual relationship with an uninfected partner.
  • Actual penetration is not needed to pass some diseases.
  • Abstain from having sex, or if you do have sex always use a latex condom or barrier.
  • Using drugs is bad for you, as well as sharing needles (IV drugs, steroids, tattoos). Don't share!
  • Alcohol and drugs affect how you think. Don't make these important decisions when intoxicated.
  • Don't be embarrassed or afraid to ask questions. Professionals (doctors and nurses) are there to help answer all your questions

In The Know: STI Pamphlet/ DVD Package
In the Know: STI Pamphlet Package