How to protect yourself from STDs? No single step can protect you from every single type of STD. You need to carefully consider all of the ways you can protect yourself from STDs. Many of these ways are used together.
The surest way to protect yourself against STDs is to not have sex at all. That means not engaging in any vaginal, anal or oral sex. Abstinence is the one method that works 100% of the time to protect against STDs and pregnancy.
Use a condom:
Condoms work really well in stopping most STDs from being passed from an infected partner to another when they are used correctly every time a person has oral, vaginal, or anal sex. If you’re having sex, you should use a condom correctly to protect yourself every time.
Talk about it:
Communicate with your partner(s) about STDs, sexual health and prevention before you have sex. Open communication encourages trust and respect among partners and helps reduce the risks of STDs. Also, don’t be afraid to talk honestly with your healthcare provider about your sexual practices or to ask about STD tests.
Testing is important even if you have no obvious symptoms. Many STDs have no symptoms. But if you or your partner has ever had sex (oral, anal, or vaginal) with anyone else, testing can help you learn whether you may have one. If you do decide to have sex, you and your partner should get tested before you have sex and use a condom every time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex, from start to finish. Get tested anytime you have a new sexual partner.
Be monogamous or limit your number of partners:
If you are going to have sex, have it with just one person and practice mutual monogamy (meaning you only have sex with each other and nobody else). Mutual monogamy helps protect against STDs, as long as you’ve both been tested and know that neither has an STD. The fewer partners you have, the less chance you will get an STD. Before you have sex, talk with your partner about how you will prevent STDs and pregnancy.
Learn about vaccines. Vaccines can be an important prevention tool against some STDs. Currently, vaccines are available to protect against infection with HPV, hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Talk to your healthcare provider to see which vaccines might be recommended for you. Learn everything you can about how to prevent STDs. Put that knowledge to use to protect yourself!
Avoid alcohol and drugs:
Alcohol and drug use can reduce the ability to make good decisions. It may also make you more likely to have unprotected sex, be talked into doing something you don’t want to do, have sex with someone you don’t want to have sex with, or be unable to give your clear and full consent.
Do not douche or use unproven methods to prevent STDs:
Douching removes some of the normal bacteria in the vagina that protects from infection, but may increase your risk of getting an STD. Other methods (like those you may see on the internet) do not work at all.