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Practicing safer sex is a good way to lower your chances of getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI), or passing one on to a partner. This does not have to mean ‘no sex’ or ‘no fun sex’. We recommend you find out what works best for you and your partners.
Ways you can lower the chances of STIs
- Get tested: If you have an STI and don’t know it, you can pass it on to others or develop serious health problems if it goes untreated. Get tested to know if you have an STI and get medications if needed. When you are seeing a new sexual partner, getting tested before having sex can help prevent STIs.
- Know your options: Some ways of having sex have less chance of passing on STIs than others. Know about sexual activities and related chances of STIs, and choose those that you are comfortable with. Lots of sexual activities that don’t involve sexual intercourse also feel good!
- Talk with partners: It can be easier in the heat of the moment when you and your partners have talked beforehand about what works for you. There are lots of ways to start this conversation. Learn more about how to talk about safer sex.
- Use protection: Use a new condom every time you have vaginal, anal or oral sex. Learn more about how to use condoms and other forms of protection to lower the chances of STIs.
Some other things to consider
- Test after the window periods for each STI. If you test too early, your results may not be accurate.
- If you are being treated for an STI, wait until both you and your partners have finished the medication before you have vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
- Get vaccinated for Hepatitis B and HPV.
- Using drugs and alcohol can affect your decision-making. Plan ahead of of time about what kind of sex you are okay with and how much alcohol or drugs you will have.
If you or your partner is living with an STI
- If you are living with an STI, you can help to protect your partner and have a healthy sex life. Living with an STI does not mean safer sex has to get in the way of good sex. There are lots of ways to enjoy sex. Always using condoms is a good way to lower the chances of passing on an STI.