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Dos and Don'ts When It Comes to STI Prevention

Dos and Don'ts When It Comes to STI Prevention

STIs are not only uncomfortable, painful, and sometimes embarrassing, but they can also lead to health complications such as infertility, cancer, or even death. With that said, here's a reminder of the ways you can protect yourself, brought to you by the MayoClinic.

  • Talk to your partner. It's important to feel comfortable asking your partner about his or her sexual history. If you feel nervous, you may have to question whether or not you're ready to have sex in the first place.
  • Get an STI screening. Some people will either lie about having an STI, or they may not even know they've contracted an infection. Either way, it's a great idea for both you and your partner to get tested before becoming sexually active — peace of mind is definitely a turn on.
  • Immunize. In most countries, it's mandatory to receive the vaccine for Hepatitis B, so you most likely have it already. We're also lucky enough to have Gardasil, the vaccine that guards against HPV, the STI that causes certain types of cervical cancer. If you're not in a mutually monogamous relationship, it may be a great idea to get this vaccine.

To find out how else you can protect yourself,


  • Condoms are a must. Although using male and female condoms doesn't guarantee 100 percent protection from STIs, they definitely help dramatically. Even if you're on the pill to protect against pregnancy, you still want to use a condom if you're unsure whether your partner is STI-free.
  • Don't mix sex with alcohol or drugs.I don't need to tell you that using drugs or alcohol decreases your awareness and makes it more difficult for you to make responsible decisions regarding your sexual safety. It's harder to remember to use a condom, and you may not be as picky about who you end up in bed with. Not only that, but using drugs and alcohol can also make sex less pleasurable, so it's really not worth it.
  • Be safe in public settings. If you're at a new bar or a friend's house party, remember that you can't be too careful. It's OK to try out new social scenes, just make sure you go with a group of friends that agree to arrive and leave together. Also, don't let your drink out of your sight. Date-rape drugs are colorless and odorless, but they can impair your judgment or make you pass out. You don't want anyone taking advantage of you, so if you forget to watch your drink, throw it out and get a new one — you're better safe than sorry.
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Join The Conversation
looseseal looseseal 8 years
I'm with MayoClinic on how if two people aren't comfortable talking to each other about sex and STI prevention, maybe they're not ready to have sex. Try telling people that, though, and suddenly you're the freak. People get all, like, OMG, it's so weird to talk about this stuff, you just get in the mood and do it, talking about it would make it not romantic. As if I'm suggesting people interrupt their foreplay to have a talk about diseases. Nah... how about talking about it before it gets to that point? And then there's the: "But if you ask him to get tested, it's like you don't trust him!" I'd get tested, too. Fair's fair. Like one of the points above says, people may not even know it if they've come into contact with something. Anyone who makes a big "OMG you don't trust me" stink over getting tested is not someone I'd want to have sex with. Anyway, there'd be the trust that he didn't doctor the results in some way, and the trust that he's not going around contracting diseases after he got tested. Those require pretty big trust.
lexichloe lexichloe 8 years
My biggest advice ladies, is to see w/ your own eyes the results of any STD/ HIV test that has been handed to him. I've been trying to get my BF to adhere to that advice. Her bf has told her he's clean, while I have my doubts. LOOK AT THE MEDICAL TESTS ON PAPER.
le-romantique le-romantique 8 years
They are easy to prevent... people are just careless... always have been. If you don't wanna bother getting checked, or ur partner checked, then it's ur own fault... I read a messed up statistic the other day like 1 in every 3 girls under 20 have been pregnant or something... pretty gross, but then again I'm 20 and a virgin and i get checked twice a month for EVERYTHING because i've had problems with my reproductive system since i was 16...
roxtarchic roxtarchic 8 years
i dont think gardasil has been around long enough or tested extensively enough to be injected into my body.... or that of a pre-teen girl (who knows what kind of implications it will have on future fertility) no thank you on the vaccine. but going to the dr every year for a screening is something EVERYONE should do i think
skigurl skigurl 8 years
it's easier said than done to not mix sex with drugs or me, i know i'm not that diligent with a domer when i'm drunk, but i also am not that diligent at saying NO to going home with a stranger when i'm drunk either, so that rule is a moot point
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
Notice no one's quick to comment on this's terrifying to have to start dating at 36 in the age of one in four with a STI or STD... which is why I am patiently waiting. Never had one and don't want one. So I have no advice or experiences to share...but thought I'd occupy the first 'pew' so others will feel comfortable enough to discuss :)
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