Nothing seems to take the romance out of sex quicker than a STD. Protecting yourself before sliding between covers is certainly better than lifelong repentance. It is always a prudent policy to adopt preventative strategies against STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) rather than suffer through the ordeal of the disease and its treatment.
Moreover, several types of STDs are not curable although they are manageable with treatment. Womankind need to be extra precautious as their anatomic structure increases their vulnerability to the infection and its detection is also trickier in this gender.
How To Prevent STDs
Knowledge Is Power
The first step towards preventing STDs is to empower yourself with information about the various symptoms of STDs and avoid having sexual intercourse with a person exhibiting such signs and symptoms.
Being Abstinent Or Always Ensure Following Safe Sexual Practices
The practice of refraining from having sex is, by far, the safest means of preventing STDs though not many might follow suit on this preventative measure. If you are sexually active then be on the safer side by engaging in protected sexual intercourse during all lovemaking sessions. This includes the use of barrier methods like male condoms, femidom (longish polyurethane pouch that fits intra-vaginally) for vaginal or rectal sex.
Ensure totally covering the genitalia or anus with barriers like dental or rubber dams (rectangular latex sheets) or lengthways slit condoms while enjoying oro-anal (rimming) and oro-vaginal sex. Condoms are intended for single-use, preferably opting for ones that are created for preventing STDs and must be stored away from heat and direct sunshine.
Water-based personal lubes are your best companions with latex condoms as other options like using some oils or petroleum based ones can cause breakage of condoms. Polyurethane condoms are ideal for latex allergy sufferers. As STDs can be contracted via skin-on-skin contact such as presence of any bruise, sore, cut in the oral, rectal, genital area or bleeding gums hence adhering to safe sex practices is of utmost importance.
Being Open In Your Relationships
Enquire about your sexual partner’s past, if he had some STD, whether he underwent treatment and has been cured. Be frank about discussing any high risk behaviours engaged in like rectal sex, intravenously used drugs, sex barter for drugs/ cash or with a mate engaging in risky sex or visiting prostitutes. Honesty is crucial and it is your duty to inform your mate if you are infected with an STD and vice versa.
Being Consistent About STD Testing
Often it is wrongly presumed that on each occasion a woman undergoes a gynaecological examination or Pap smear test she is also tested for STDs. The frequency at which a woman must get screened for STDs is dependent on factors like how old she is, her sexual practices and several risk factors.
STD testing is conducted in varied forms like blood and/or urine analysis, swabs or tissue cultures taken from some sore, ulcer, wart in the genital area or biopsy forwarded for lab evaluation and visual medical examination.
‘Safe Than Sorry’ Sex Advice
Sexual exclusivity that is applicable to both partners is the best policy though, if possible, restrict you sex mates. Exercise utmost care when selecting sex mates and avoid engaging in sexual contact with someone you suspect is infected.
Bear in mind that an STD infected person can be totally asymptomatic and some STDs reveal their symptoms after a decade or so after infecting the person. Also, avoid being intoxicated or on a high before having sexual intercourse as it can most likely compromise your decision of using barriers.
Effective prevention of a number of STDs is possible via pre-exposure immunization with commonly obtainable vaccinations for hepatitis A, B and human papilloma virus (Gardasil, Cervarix). Vaccines for herpes simplex virus and HIV are being developed, but are not available yet. Vaccinations can shield females from some HPV forms though their efficacy is highest when administration is done prior to them becoming sexually active.