STIs: Ways to Make Sex Safer

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But you can make sex safer.Safer sex will lower your chances of getting or spreading a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

If you have vaginal, oral or anal sex, use these guidelines to make it safer.

Use Condoms

Use latex or polyurethane - NOT lambskin - condoms every time you have sex. (Natural lambskin condoms don’t protect against HIV/AIDS).

  • Don’t use your teeth or fingernails to open condom packages.
  • Don’t store condoms in warm places such as a wallet or your car. (Warmer and colder temperatures can weaken latex and make condoms less effective.)
  • Always check the condom’s expiry date.
  • Use latex condoms or dental dams for oral-genital and oral-anal sex. (You can make a dental dam by cutting a condom length-wise. If you do not have condoms to make dental dams, use non-microwaveable plastic wrap - only Glad™ has been tested in a laboratory.)

Remember that condoms are not 100% effective in preventing all STIs. Since condoms don’t cover all the affected areas, infections like herpes and pubic lice can still be spread.

Make “Safe” Part of Your Relationships

Both you and any new partners should be tested for STIs before you become sexually intimate.

Don’t Exchange Bodily Fluids

Some sexually transmitted bacteria and viruses enter the body through bodily fluids. Protect yourself by avoiding any contact with sores, rashes, blood, semen and/or vaginal fluids. Use plenty of water-based lubricant to prevent condoms from breaking and to prevent tiny cuts in the vaginal and/or anal/rectal walls.

Avoid Drugs and Alcohol

The effect of drugs and alcohol can 'cloud' your good judgement. Using alcohol or drugs before or during sex lessens the chance that you’ll follow safer-sex guidelines..

Practice Personal Hygiene

Washing with soap and water and urinating before and after sex might help lower the risk of some STIs.

Definitely Don’t…

  • Use oil-based lubricants (e.g., Vaseline®). Oil-based lubricants can weaken latex condoms and make them more likely to break.
  • Brush your teeth or floss 2 hours before or after having oral sex without a latex condom or dental dam. Bacteria and viruses can enter your bloodstream through tiny cuts on your gums caused by flossing and brushing.

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