Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections contracted during sexual intercourse with an infected person. Sexual activities like touching and skin contact with an infected person may also cause an STD.
STDs are preventable, but millions of people contract the infections every year. If people take their sexual health seriously and make the right decisions, they could avoid STDs. However, the surest way to avoid STD is abstaining from any form of sexual activity.
If you are sexually active, there are certain steps you need to take before having sex to reduce your risk of getting STDs.
Protection before sex
For adequate protection from STDs during sex, you need to take some steps before any sexual activity. Taking the following steps before having sex will help reduce the risk of contracting an STD.
Have only one sex partner
Ask your partner to get tested and also test yourself for STDs
Have an honest conversation about your sexual history with your partner
Get the necessary vaccine for hepatitis B and human papillomavirus (HPV)
Do not have sex when you have had excess drugs or alcohol
Communication is key to having a happy relationship and talking about your sexual health with your partner will help protect both of you. Most people with STIs do not know they have them, and it is important to visit a private STI clinic in London to get tested whenever you have a new sex partner.
If you test positive to any STD, ensure your partner knows about it to enable both of you to understand your risk factors and also ask your partner if he/she has or had an STD.
Safe sex practices
Safe sex involves using a polyurethane or latex condom during any form of sexual activity. These barriers include:
Wearing gloves for manual penetration
Using dental dams and condoms during oral sex
Using female or male condoms during vaginal or anal sex
After sex, rinsing your body or taking a bath would help remove some infectious substances on your skin. Urinating after sex for women helps reduce the chances of having infections in the urinary tract.
Correct use of condoms
Before you use any barrier like a condom to have sex, ensure you read the instructions for use on the pack and follow them correctly. These safety precautions for using condoms will also help out.
Check the pack for its expiry date
Ensure that the condom is still sealed by checking for an air bubble
Wear the condom correctly
Always leave a little space at the tip
Do not unroll the condom before placing it on the penis
Use safe lubricants on the condom during sex
Hold the condom when you want to withdraw after sex, prevent it from slipping off
Do not reuse a condom
If you take out a condom, do not try putting it on again
Always dispose of your used condom correctly
Dental dams, condoms, and other forms of protective barriers prevent STIs by stopping the exchange of fluids from the body. They also minimise direct skin contact, which reduces the transmission of STDs. However, they do not offer 100% protection against STDs.
You can contract HPV, herpes, and syphilis through direct skin contact with an infected person. If your sex partner has herpes, he/she will need to talk to a doctor about getting suppressive treatment. Suppressive therapy helps prevent the outbreak of herpes and its transmission. No treatment is available to cure herpes, and once you get infected, you would have to live with it all your life. Even without the herpes outbreak, an infected person can transmit the infection.
STDs are prevalent in the UK, but there are several ways to reduce your risk of contracting them. Practising safe sex may protect you from STDs. If you do not know the right preventive measures, speak to your doctor.
When discussing with your doctor, ensure that you are honest about your sexual history, so the doctor can help you with the right suggestions to reduce your risk of getting STDs.
Remember that anyone sexually active is at risk of contracting an STD, so ensure that you practice safe sex. If you notice any symptoms and think you have contracted an STD, visit a private STI clinic to test for the STI.
You can also visit walk in GUM Clinic in London for your STI testing or call us to book an appointment.