Protect Yourself

  • Abstinence, or not having oral, vaginal or anal sex, is the best way to protect yourself. It is possible to get an STD even without having intercourse (penis in the vagina, mouth or anus) through skin-to-skin contact.

  • There are many alternatives to intercourse, like mutual or self-masturbation.

  • If you have sex, choose only one partner who you know well and trust. Someone who only has sex with you. This is called "mutual monogamy." Limiting your number of sex partners helps reduce your risk of getting an STD.

  • Use latex condoms correctly for any type of sex (vaginal, oral or anal) from start to finish.

  • Limiting your number of sex partners helps reduce your risk of getting an STD. But remember, just because you and your partner may be monogamous with each other, the risk of getting an STD is increased by the number of previous sexual partners either partner has had.

  • Use water-based spermicide for vaginal sex. It is not safe or effective for oral or anal sex.

  • Always use water-based lubricants (like K-Y jelly, Astroglide or glycerin) with latex condoms. Oil lubricants, like petroleum jelly, baby oil or cooking oil, can cause latex condoms to break.

  • Latex condoms may protect the penis, vagina, mouth or anus (butt hole) from some STDs, but they will not protect against genital warts (HPV) or other lesions such as herpes, when they are present on the base of the penis or the scrotum (on the male), or on the woman's vulva.

  • Sometimes infection can spread to or from areas like the scrotum or anal area. STDs like herpes and genital warts are spread through skin-to-skin contact.

  • A female polyurethane condom is available and may protect these areas better, but it is NOT to be used with a male condom.

Know the Facts. Know for Sure.

  • If you have had unprotected sex, you may have an STD and not know it.

  • If your partner has had unprotected sex, your partner may have an STD and not know it.

  • STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are curable. While not curable, diseases like HIV, HPV, herpes and hepatitis B are treatable.

  • If left untreated, STDs can lead to long-term consequences, like infertility, long-term pain or cancer.

Contents provided by American Social Health Association