Tips to Reduce the Risks of STD Encounters : Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), are infections that you can get when you have sexual contact with another person who’s infected. You can also get them when you’re touched by an infected person, as some STDs tend to spread even with the minimal skin-to-skin contact. Generally, STDs can be prevented, cure, or treated.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), each year 20 million Americans are diagnosed with STDs. Sadly, most of these numbers could have been prevented if people took necessary steps to protect themselves from these diseases and infections.
How Do These Infections Spread?
Usually, STIs are spread through sexual contact. It could be through anal, penal, vaginal, or oral contact. It can spread through any kind of sex between genders: male to male, female to female, male to female, and female to male.
There are STDs that can be transferred to you even if you have not been penetrated. STIs such as Herpes can be transferred through skin-to-skin contact. Hepa B and HIV are STDs that can move through blood and breast milk; thus, a pregnant woman can transfer these infections to her unborn child.
There’s a myth that you can get an STD from a simple handshake, hug, or touching objects that have been touched by an infected person. However, this is not true.
How Do You Know If You Have an STD?
There are STIs that cause symptoms immediately. However, there are STIs that don’t cause any sign, and if you feel symptoms, they tend to be barely noticeable. This is why a lot of people go through their daily activities without knowing they’ve been infected.
If you’ve recently had an unprotected sexual encounter, have had sex with someone new, or have multiple partners, you should immediately get yourself checked. Do not wait for a symptom to show. A doctor and sets of tests are the only ones that can prove that you’re “clean.”
How Can You Reduce Your Risk Of STD Encounters?
Believe it or not, there are many ways to decrease your chances of getting a sexually transmitted disease.
Choose to Be Abstinent
Among the many ways that can help you decrease your chances of STD, this method is the only guaranteed one to prevent an STD. However, a lot of people don’t want to use this method since they don’t find it practical.
Abstinence is a method of not having sex; it refers to no sex through your vagina, penis, anal, or mouth.
Aside from avoiding getting an STD, you might choose abstinence because:
- You can avoid getting pregnant
- You can uphold your moral values
- You can save yourself for the special person
Communicate with your partner.
If you have a partner and you’re sexually active, take time to sit down and talk with him or her. You and your partner/partners should talk about:
- Sexual health
- Different sexually transmitted diseases
- Prevention of STDs
- Treatment if you or your partner/partners get infected with an STI
Having open communication will encourage you and your sexual partners to be respectful and have more trust towards each other. And while talking, you should remember to be completely honest and never be afraid of speaking about your opinions and your needs.
You and your partner/partners should get tested.
If you or your partner have had sex with someone else before, then getting tested can help you learn if you have any infection. Symptoms are not reliable most of the time, as most of them are unnoticeable and won’t show for the first few months or years. And most STDs can’t be detected immediately.
You can be tested by:
- Talking to your healthcare provider
- Blood test
- Swabs of your genital area or inside of your mouth
- Urine sample
- Sample taken from your sore
- Sample of your discharge
- Visual diagnosis
- Pap test
Limit the Number of People You Have Sex With
If you’re sexually active and you want to stay STI-free, make sure to do it with just a single person. When you have sex with a person, you are essentially receiving their sexual history. Thus, the fewer sexual partners that you have, the better off you are health-wise. This is why when you have sex with someone, make sure that you can trust him or her.
Always Use Protection
Using a condom works well to stop diseases from being passed on to you. Make sure that you use condoms consistently and correctly to maximize their effects. Use it when you have anal, vaginal, penal or oral sex.
Get Vaccinated if Possible
Vaccination is an essential tool in helping you prevent STD, and they’re available on the market. You can talk to your doctor if you’re interested in getting a vaccine. Your doctor can recommend which vaccine is ideal for you. Vaccinations can protect you from:
- Hepa A
- Hepatitis B
Avoid Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Your risk is reduced if you avoid regular drinking of alcohol and using drugs recreationally. Aside from avoiding STDs, if you avoid drugs and alcohol, you may be avoiding:
- Unwanted sex
- Unwanted pregnancy
- Being forced to have sex
- Making poor decisions
- Participating in activities without your consent
Follow These Tips and Reduce Your Risk
Even if the sexually transmitted diseases are common, following the tips we have given above can help you reduce your risk and let you enjoy sex with safety.
If you don’t know what kind of methods are right for you, talk to your partners or consult a reliable doctor. Be sure to be utterly truthful to your healthcare provider about your sexual activities, so they can help you prepare for and treat an STI. Sex is for everyone to enjoy, especially safe sex.
Angela Hall is a health enthusiast who specialises in spreading STD education across the country. She enjoys what she does and loves to travel to different areas. She loves to write for websites and is a family girl at heart.
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