How to Avoid Sexually Transmitted Diseases – STDsNatasha Jun 30 2016 at 7:48 AM
Sexually Transmitted Diseases or STDs are bacterial or viral infections that are spread by sexual contact and are a public health problem caused by the transmission of bacteria, viruses and other parasites. Some sexually transmitted diseases can be treated while others like HIV are incurable and can result in death. Sexually transmitted diseases caused by bacteria are treated with antibiotics. Those caused by viruses cannot be cured, but their symptoms can be treated. Hence prevention is better than cure. How are Sexually Transmitted Diseases transmitted? Sexually transmitted diseases can be transmitted by contact with skin, genitals, mouth, rectum, or body fluids. Anyone who has vaginal, anal, or oral sex with another person may get sexually transmitted diseases. Sexually transmitted diseases may or may not display symptoms. What are the risk factors for Sexually Transmitted Diseases?
- Multiple sexual partners
- Sexual contact with one or more individuals having a sexually transmitted diseases either in the present or the past
- Sex with a new partner during the past 2 months
- More than 2 sexual partners in the past 12 months
- Symptoms or signs of sexually transmitted diseases
- Having been a patient in a sexually transmitted diseases clinic
- No contraception or the use of non-barrier birth control (egg. birth control pills)
- Avoiding use Sexual Wellness Products
- Male homosexual activity
- Use of injection drugs (eg. heroin)
- Engaging in “survival sex” (i.e., exchanging sex for money, food, drugs, or shelter)
Adolescents have higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases than any other age group because they frequently have unprotected sex. They are also biologically more prone to develop an infection. Also, they may be less likely to use Sexual health care services that could give them information on how to protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases. Low-risk and high-risk activities Low risk activities include open mouth kissing (French kissing) and hand-to- genital contact. Activities that are higher risk for sexually transmitted diseases include oral sex (genital or anal), vaginal intercourse and other genital-to- genital contact, anal intercourse and sharing sex toys with no barriers. PREVENTION OF SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES
Abstinence The most reliable way to avoid infection is to not have sex (i.e., anal, vaginal or oral).
Reduce number of sex partners Reducing your number of sex partners can decrease your risk for sexually transmitted diseases. It is still important that you and your partner get tested, and that you share your test results with one another.
Mutual Monogamy Mutual monogamy means that you agree to be sexually active with only one person, who has agreed to be sexually active only with you. It is one of the most reliable ways to avoid sexually transmitted diseases but you must both be certain you are not infected with any sexually transmitted diseases. It is important to have an open and honest conversation with your partner.
Safe sex Safe sex involves sex with a condom, female condom, gloves, and/or other appropriate barriers. Never have anal vaginal or oral sex without suitable protection. If you or your partner is at high risk of sexually transmitted diseases be consistent about barrier use (dental dams, condoms) during oral sex as well. Barriers are not 100% protective against all sexually transmitted diseases, but they will greatly reduce your risk.
Know your limits
In the heat of the moment it can be very difficult to use your brain. Once your clothes have started to come off is one cannot think about how far you wish to go with your partner. Before you head out on a date, think about your plans for the night, whether you wish to have sex with your partner or not and if yes then up to what limit. Do not leave room for regret. Be planned and prepared.
Use a condom
Correct and consistent use of the male latex condom is highly effective in reducing sexually transmitted diseases occurrence and transmission. Use a condom every time you have anal, vaginal, or oral sex. If you have latex allergies, synthetic non-latex condoms can be used. But it is important to note that these condoms have higher breakage rates than latex condoms. Natural membrane condoms are not recommended for prevention of sexually transmitted diseases
Communicate to your partner
Talk to them about safe sex. Be clear, open, and honest in all aspects of a relationship, including the sexual aspect. It is important to be able to talk comfortably with your partner not only about safer sex and sexually transmitted diseases testing, but also about monogamy and whether your relationship is or isn’t exclusive. Better communication skills will make your sex life safer and more fulfilling.
It’s fine to say no
You never have to have sex. If you don’t want to have sex at all, or just not right then, that’s ok. That’s your right. Sex is not something you owe someone because they bought you dinner, and anyone who is going to break up with you because you won’t sleep with them isn’t someone you should be dating in the first place. It’s your choice to say yes to sex, and it’s also your choice to say no. Respect the decisions, and abide by them.
Anyone who is sexually active should get consistently tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Women should have an annual Pap smear. This is the first line of defence against cervical cancer and precancerous changes caused by papilloma viruses. Many doctors also recommend that every sexually active teenager be tested twice a year for gonorrhoea and Chlamydia and once a year for syphilis. Regular counselling about HIV is also important. Testing should be performed more frequently if symptoms such as abnormal vaginal discharge, irritation, or pain occur.
Know how to please yourself
Sometimes one thinks about sex constantly and it’s impossible to get sex off your mind. This can make it tempting to jump into bed with someone just to have sex, not because you like them, or even because you particularly want to have sex with them. You can end up regretting your decision. To avoid making a bad decision if you end up in a situation where you want to have safe sex, but there are no supplies around, is to know how to please yourself. There’s nothing wrong with masturbation, and no sexual partner is safer than yourself.
Avoid alcohol and drugs before sex
Avoiding alcohol and drugs use reduces the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, having an unwanted pregnancy, or being forced into having sex. Alcohol and drug use can impair our judgement to make good decisions. It may also make us more likely to be talked into sex without being able to give our full consent.
Brain is the most important sex organ
Brain as the most important sex organ, because it is where the vast majority of arousal happens. The brain, however, is also your most important safer sex organ. Use it to inform yourself, and to be aware of risk factors, transmission methods, symptoms, and methods of prevention. You can use it to help you pick your partners sensibly, and decide what you do and don’t feel comfortable doing with them. The decision to make your sex life safer is the first and most important step in reducing your risk of sexually transmitted diseases.
One important prevention tool against sexually transmitted diseases is vaccination. Currently, vaccines are available to protect against infection with HPV, hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Talk to your doctor to see which vaccines might be recommended for you. To prevent getting a sexually transmitted disease, always avoid sex with anyone who has genital sores, a rash, discharge, or other symptoms. The only time unprotected sex is safe is if you and your partner have sex only with each other, and if it's been at least six months since you each tested negative for sexually transmitted diseases. Otherwise you should:
- Use latex condoms every time you have sex. If you use a lubricant, make sure it’s water-based. Use condoms for the entire sex act. Condoms are not 100% effective at preventing disease or pregnancy. However, they are extremely effective if used properly. Learn how to use condoms correctly.
- Avoid sharing towels or underclothing.
- Wash before and after intercourse.
- Get a vaccination for hepatitis B.
- Get tested for HIV.
If you have a problem with drug or alcohol abuse, get help. People who are drunk or on drugs often fail to have safe sex.
- Consider that not having sex is the only sure way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases
It’s traumatic to find out you have a sexually transmitted diseases. You might be angry if you feel you’ve been betrayed or ashamed if there's a chance you infected others. At worst, sexually transmitted diseases can cause chronic illness and death, even with the best care in the world. Between those extremes is a host of other potential losses — trust between partners, plans to have children, and the joyful embrace of your sexuality and its expression. Here’s how you can cope: Put blame on hold. Don’t jump to the conclusion that your partner has been unfaithful to you. One (or both) of you may have been infected by a past partner. Be honest with your doctor. Their job is not to judge you, but to stop sexually transmitted diseases from spreading. Anything, you tell them remains confidential. Be calm!