Not having sex is the best way to protect yourself from STIs. Having sex with only one uninfected partner who only has sex with you is also safe. Here are other things you can do to protect yourself:
- Use a latex condom (or "rubber") every time for vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Condoms will help protect you from STIs much of the time. Both men and women should carry condoms.
- In addition to condoms, use birth control foam, cream, or jelly. These kill many STI germs.
- Talk to your partner about past sex partners and about needle drug use. Don't have sex with someone who you think may have an STI.
- Before you have sex, look closely at your partner for any sign of an STI – a rash, a sore, redness, or discharge. If you see anything you are worried about, don't have sex!
- Get checked for an STI every time you have a health exam. If you have more than one sex partner, get examined for an STI any time you think you might be at risk, even if you don't have symptoms.
- Know the signs and symptoms of an STI. If you notice a symptom that worries you, get checked out!
- If you have an STI, your partner(s) must get treated when you do.
- If you have an STI, don't have sex until your doctor says you're cured.
Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
STD Wizard: It takes 5 minutes to find out if you need to be tested for an STI such as hepatitis, HIV or Chlamydia.
HIV Rap Interactive: Watch a video, answer a quiz to assess your HIV risk, or just learn more about sexual health strategies to protect you and your partner using this collection of interactive, multimedia, science-based HIV information, prevention resources, and personal stories.
Know the Risks: This interactive HIV/AIDS Information and Personal Risk Assessment Center can help you to better understand your risks for HIV and learn more about prevention strategies. The survey and learning activities are also available in Spanish.
For More Information:
See our How To Use a Condom article.
See our Safer Oral Sex article.