Sexually transmitted infections are common, especially among sexually active teens. The mode of transmission of these diseases is through sexual activities. However, some STIs can also be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact like syphilis, human papillomavirus, and herpes. Other STIs include gonorrhea, HIV, chlamydia, hepatitis B, and trichomoniasis.
Some of these diseases don’t show symptoms but can cause serious health problems if not treated. For example, untreated chlamydia can lead to the development of chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy, and even infertility in women.
Because of these reasons, there is an urgent need to reduce these infections, and the governments are hugely investing in lowering them. Fortunately, you can prevent these infections to minimize the long-term effects of these diseases.
Curbing the spread of STIs is everyone’s responsibility. You should consider taking these precautions to reduce the spread of STIs:
Abstain from sex
Abstinence is the only surest way of avoiding and preventing STIs because these infections spread through sex or contact with genital fluids.
Practice safe sex
Sometimes, abstinence can be difficult for most people due to the body’s hormonal changes. If you’re a victim and your partner has sex with other people, you should practice safe sex.
The only way to practice safe sex is by effectively using a condom. “Effectively?” you heard me right. Effective usage of condoms means using them in the right way and consistently. If you’re engaging in oral sex, you should always use dental dams. Remember, STIs like herpes simplex type 2 can spread to the mouth through oral sex.
Using condoms and other barriers cannot prevent you from contracting all STIs 100%. However, if used effectively, you’ll significantly reduce your chances of contracting the infections.
Have a regular STD Testing
Knowing your STD status is the first step to preventing the spread of these infections, especially if you’re entering a new relationship or don’t trust your partner. If you or your partner engages in multiple sexual intercourses, you risk contracting STI. Therefore, you should have frequent testing.
If you or your partner is tested positive and starts treatment, you should not engage in sexual activities until you’re through with the medications.
Avoid engaging in sexual activities while under the influence of drugs.
You may have heard the term “don’t drink and drive.” This is because drugs impair judgment. You might not make responsible choices when you’re under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Remember to use a condom or any protective barrier might be difficult, and you might find yourself in bad scenarios.
Have you ever had sex with someone under the influence and started regretting it after sobering up? This is why you should avoid having sex while under the influence because you’ll probably be careless.
Scientists have worked day and night and developed vaccines for some STIs. The available vaccines are for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and the human papillomavirus (HPV).
These vaccines are available for both kids and adults. For hepatitis A, you’ll be given two shots a year, while there are three shots for hepatitis B, with the second shot given one month after the first one and the third six months after the first one.
Consider having a long-term monogamous relationship.
Having a long-term monogamous relationship means you have one sex partner. This will significantly reduce your chances of contracting STIs, mainly if you both tested negative at the start of the relationship. However, you should work on trust and commitment to the monogamous relationship.
STD testing is not always 100% accurate, and this is because some herpes viruses can be dormant in the body and cannot be detected at that time, so if your partner tested positive while in long-term monogamy, you know why.
Be open with your partner.
Being open in a relationship not only helps in curbing the spread of STIs but also builds trust. You should chat with your partner about sex and the importance of practicing safe sex. If you’ve had an STI, this is the time you should talk about it.
Being open will make you have an understanding and have the same thought about engaging in safe sex.
STIs are common infections among us that, when left untreated, can lead to severe conditions. But, before reaching the treatment point, we can prevent or reduce the chances of contracting these infections.