Health Topics

Safer Sex

If you choose to have sex, then using safer sex practices can protect you from sexually transmitted infections. 

How to prevent sexually transmitted infections

Here are some tips for preventing sexually transmitted infections, or STIs:

  • Use a latex condom, from start to finish every time you have vaginal, anal and oral sex. Male or female condoms and dental dams prevent STIs if used correctly. 
  • Limit your number of sexual partners. The chance of getting an STI goes up with each new sexual partner.
  • Get tested for STIs regularly.
  • Get tested for STIs before each new sexual partner and ask your partner to get tested too.
  • Talk to your partner about their history of STIs before having sex.
  • Be familiar with symptoms of common STIs and avoid sexual contact if you or your partner have any symptoms.
  • Be aware that most people who have STIs do not have any symptoms.  The only way to know if you have an STI is to get tested.
  • Avoid douching (a liquid wash to clean the vagina).  Douches can get rid of the good bacteria that stop infections and can increase your risk of getting an STI.
  • If you choose to shave your pubic hair, avoid shaving this area if you have an active skin infection such as genital herpes sores, genital warts and/or molluscum contagiosum until the skin is healed and completely clear of symptoms for two weeks.  This prevents spreading the infection to other areas of your body.
  • Avoid having sex while using alcohol or drugs.  Drugs or alcohol can alter your decision making around having sex and safer sex practices. 

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