Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are typically acquired by sexual contact. They are all viruses, bacteria, or parasites that cause detrimental health implications, although some STDs have no outward symptoms until the advanced stages. STDs pass from person to person in blood, semen, vaginal, or other bodily fluids.
Occasionally, these infections can transmit non-sexually, such as during pregnancy, childbirth, blood transfusions, or sharing needles. Although medical professionals can treat all STDs, only a few diseases are cured completely, with some lasting a lifetime.
Preventing the Spread of STDs
There are several ways to reduce or avoid your risk of STDs. These include in following methods:
Arguably one of the most effective ways to avoid all STDs is not having sexual contact with anyone else.
Stay with one partner (as long as they’re uninfected).
If you’re in a long-term relationship with someone that isn’t infected with an STI, it’s a reliable way to avoid catching anything new.
Wait and test.
Avoid all vaginal and anal intercourse with any new partner until you’ve both been tested for STIs. Oral sex is considerably less risky, but always use latex barriers to prevent skin-to-skin contact.
Regularly use barrier methods.
Always use a new latex condom or dental dam for sexual activity, whether vaginal, anal, or oral. Never use oil-based products. Condoms made from natural membranes aren’t effective at preventing STIs. While condoms will lower the risk of exposure, they don’t protect against STIs involving sores (including HPV or herpes.)
Avoid excessive drug or alcohol use.
You’re more likely to engage in a risky activity if you’re under the influence.
Always talk to your partner about safer sex. Make sure you agree on what activities are okay and not okay before having intimate relations.
Consider male circumcision.
There’s evidence to suggest that circumcision will reduce the risk of acquiring HIV from a woman with HIV by approximately 60%. Male circumcision can also prevent the transmission of herpes or HPV.
Consider using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved using two combination drugs to reduce the risk of HIV infection. People looking for PrEP in Ontario will need a prescription. You will also need an HIV test before taking this medicine. You must complete an HIV test every three months if you’re taking the medication.
The most common STD can be prevented by a vaccine, helping you avoid health issues like some cancers and genital warts. The HPV vaccine is available to anyone aged 9-45. Talk to your doctor if you haven’t received your HPV vaccine.
Always get checked.
Many STIs don’t have symptoms, meaning you can spread the infection even if you don’t know it. Make sure you get screened regularly, especially if you have a new partner.
Getting an STD isn’t the end of the world.
All STDs are treatable, and some are entirely curable. If you or your partner has an STD that doctors can cure, starting treatment immediately is essential to avoid reinfection. Although no one likes telling potential partners of STDs, it’s a critical part of sexual health. Always be straightforward and transparent about your history, especially if you have a life-long condition.
Discuss your sexual health before in the heat of the moment, explaining any risks or potential exposures. If you take medication for your condition, explain what the pharmaceuticals do, and the last time you had an active outbreak. Informed consent is crucial to intimacy. While it might seem embarrassing, letting someone know exactly what you bring to the bedroom is integral in limiting the spread of STIs.