An STD is transmitted by means of physical contact and intercourse. These diseases are caused by parasites, virus or bacteria. Usually, STDs are preventable provided you make the right choices concerning your sexual health. Refraining from sex isn’t a feasible idea at all.
But fortunately there are alternatives too to curb the menace that STDs are:
- Abstain: The most effective way to avoid STIs is to abstain from sex.
- Mutual monogamy: Two people who have sex only with one another don’t have any opportunity to bring a new STD into the relationship. If you and your partner have been tested and are healthy, remaining faithful to each other is a very good way to reduce your chances of contracting an STD.
- Get Vaccinated: One important prevention tool against STIs is vaccination. Currently, vaccines are available to protect against infection with HPV, hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Talk to a healthcare provider to see which vaccines might be recommended for you.
- Protect Yourself: Condoms work really well in stopping most STIs from being passed from an infected partner to another when they are used consistently and correctly every time a person has oral, vaginal or anal sex. Consistently and correctly means that a person makes sure they use a condom every time they have oral, vaginal or anal sex and put it on and use it the right way.
- Avoid alcohol and drug use: Avoiding alcohol and recreational drug use reduce the risk of contracting an STI, having an unwanted pregnancy, or being coerced to have sex. Alcohol and drug use can reduce our ability to make good decisions. It may also make us more likely to be talked into participating in an activity without being able to give our full consent.
Coping and Support
It's traumatic to find out you have an STI. You might be angry if you feel you've been betrayed or ashamed if there's a chance you infected others. At worst, an STI 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. If in doubt, don't hesitate to visit a skin specialist or a physician.