Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are at an all-time high, with cases such as hepatitis, chlamydia, and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) spreading throughout the populace. Most of these circumstances can be attributed to more open attitudes around sexual intercourse and casual relationships, a growing population, and lack of access to proper medication or HIV CME. If you or someone you love has HIV or any other STD, here are the steps you can take in order to protect current and future partners.
If you are aware or you suspect that you have contracted an STD or an STI, abstaining from sex guarantees that you won’t spread it to others. You should also stop having sex if you are currently taking any medication for an STD/STI, if you’re experiencing a flare up of symptoms, or until your doctor tells you it’s okay to continue sexual activity.
While abstinence is the best proven method to prevent the spread of infectious sexual disease, using the proper protection methods can prove effective as well. Condoms are the best option for safe sex, providing a solid, protective barrier around the penis in males or against the cervix in females. Be sure to use a new condom for each time you have sex, or through every form of contact during sex (oral, vaginal, or anal.) Other forms of birth control, such as hormonal pills, insertion rings, and injections, are not effective in preventing STDs/STIs, so consistently use a condom until you and your partner haven’t had any other partners and have been clear of disease for the past six months.
Even when not having sex, it’s important to stay hygienic. Avoid sharing undergarments or towels with others if you suspect that you’re infected, and avoid drugs and alcohol that may inhibit your sense of awareness, as you’re less likely to practice safe sex under the influence.
Before you engage in sexual activity – whether for the first time or with a new partner – it’s important to make a visit with your doctor. They can check your body for potential illnesses that may have been genetically passed down from your parents, or any that have been passed from a previous partner that could be dormant. Your doctor can prescribe you medications that can treat or cure your infections, warn you of any potential symptoms of common STDs, and give you more information that you can share with your intended partner.
Do your part and protect you and your loved ones. Check with your doctor to screen for STDs and take care of yourself through HIV CME procedures.