What are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infectious diseases transmitted through sexual contact. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 19 million new cases occur annually in the U.S. and 50 % of new infections occur in people between the agea of 15-24.
How to protect yourself from STIs?
The best way to prevent contracting an STI is to abstain from any type of sexual activity. However, if you decide to be sexually active, there are several precautions to take to help reduce your risk of developing STIs. Consider the following:
- Choose to have a mutually monogamous sexual relationship with an uninfected partner.
- Use a male latex or female polyurethane condom and topical microbicides.
- Delay sexual relationships as long as possible. The younger you are when having sex for the first time, the more susceptible you will become to developing an STI.
- Have regular checkups for STIs.
- Learn the symptoms of STIs and seek medical help as soon as possible if any symptoms develop.
- Avoid sex during menstruation.
- Avoid douching.