Other ways to prevent STDs

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Someone asked us:

Are there other ways to prevent STD transfer besides condoms and abstinence?

If you want to avoid giving or getting an STD, abstinence and condoms are the way to go.

Abstinence is the most effective way of preventing STD transmission. Using condoms consistently and correctly every time is the most effective way of preventing STD transmission when you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. In addition to using condoms to cover the penis during oral sex, Sheer Glyde dams or a cut-open condom are a way to cover the vulva.

You can think about the risk of STDs on a scale. Some activities are safer than others. That’s why you might hear people in the sexual health realm talk about practicing safer sex. Safer sex is anything you do to lower your risk of transmitting STDs. The basic safer sex rule is to prevent contact with one another’s body fluids, especially semen, blood, and vaginal secretions. One way to do this is by using plastic and rubber barriers for safer vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Another way is to practice outercourse or mutual masturbation with your partner instead of other sexual activities.

Of course there are other things to think about like getting tested regularly. If you’ve been tested and are STD-free (since you’ve been with your current partner AND have no other partners), you know you can’t transmit something to someone else. Getting tested together with a partner is a good way to keep your risk lower – but regular testing alone isn’t a replacement for using condoms.

- Emily at Planned Parenthood