Precautions to Take to Reduce The Risk of Contracting an STD
There are a number of ways to take precaution against sexually transmitted diseases as a measure of prevention, including the use of vaccinations, lifestyle choices, safer sex practices, and hygienic measures.
Vaccines have been developed for a few STDs, including hepatitis A and hepatitis B. A vaccine causes the immune system to build up resistance to a particular disease. Individuals that of particular risk of infection should seek to become vaccinated against them. Researchers are continually looking for vaccines and possible cures against the many other sexually transmitted diseases.
Lifestyle Choices and Habits
The risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease is heavily related to choices one makes about their sexual activity. Abstinence is considered to be the best method of avoiding STDs.
The larger the number of sexual partners a person has, the greater the risk he or she faces of contracting an STD. Among sexually active people, the risk of contracting an infection is lowest for those who are in monogamous relationships (couples who do not have sexual partners outside of their relationship).
It is also important to know the health status of a prospective sexual partner. Discussing one’s sexual health with a prospective partner is an important health precaution and should not cause embarrassment – your life could be at stake.
Intravenous drug use often involves sharing needles with other people who may be infected with an STD. Some sexually transmitted infections are easily spread in blood passed from one person to another.
Use of Condoms and Other Contraceptives
The term safer sex is used to describe a number of techniques that can be used during sexual activity to avoid contracting an STD. The concept is that sexual activity can be both pleasurable and safe by taking a few simple precautions.
Perhaps the most effective precaution one can use during sexual activity is a condom. When properly used, a condom can be effective in preventing the transmission of bodily fluids from one person to another. However, condoms don’t always provide 100% protection against such STD’s as herpes or HPV – simply because the infected skin may fall outside the area covered by the condom. Additional precautions may be necessary.
Spermicides and diaphragms are also somewhat effective in preventing the spread of STDs. But they are not totally effective and do not prevent the spread of some organisms, such as HIV. Either or both of these, when used with a condom, can decrease the chance of spreading and STD.
Cleanliness is always an important factor in avoiding the spread of any disease. However, careful washing alone is not very effective against most STDs.