Skip to content

Health & Sex

Understanding Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention

Font Size
A
A
A

To prevent getting a sexually transmitted disease, or STD, always avoid sex with anyone who has genital sores, a rash, discharge, or other symptoms. The only time unprotected sex is safe is if you and your partner have sex only with each other, and if it's been at least six months since you each tested negative for STDs. Otherwise you should:

  • Use latex condoms every time you have sex. If you use a lubricant, make sure it's water-based. Use condoms for the entire sex act. Condoms are not 100% effective at preventing disease or pregnancy. However, they are extremely effective if used properly. Learn how to use condoms correctly.
  • Avoid sharing towels or underclothing.
  • Wash before and after intercourse.
  • Get a vaccination for hepatitis B. This is a series of three shots.
  • Get tested for HIV.
  • If you have a problem with drug or alcohol abuse, get help. People who are drunk or on drugs often fail to have safe sex.
  • Consider that not having sex is the only sure way to prevent STDs.

It was once thought that using condoms with nonoxynol-9 helped to prevent STDs by killing the organisms that can cause disease. New research shows that doing so also irritates a woman's vagina and cervix and may increase the risk of an STD infection. Current recommendations are to avoid using condoms with nonoxynol-9.

Recommended Related to Sex & Relationships

Can You Learn Better Sex From a Video?

By Lindsey Palmer Sure, those how-to sex videos with the soft-focus ads seem a little embarrassing, but some are based on legitimate research and have great ideas. We watched the "Better Sex Video Series: Sexplorations" tapes with pen and paper in hand—so you won't have to (although you might like 'em!). Here, the best take-away tips.  

Read the Can You Learn Better Sex From a Video? article > >

How Can I Prevent Spreading an STD?

To prevent giving an STD to someone else:

  • Stop having sex until you see a doctor and are treated.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions for treatment.
  • Use condoms whenever you have sex, especially with new partners.
  • Don't resume having sex unless your doctor says it's OK.
  • Return to your doctor to get rechecked.
  • Be sure your sex partner or partners also are treated.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on February 21, 2013

Today on WebMD

couple not communicating
How to tell when you're in one.
couple face to face
Get your love life back on track.
 
couple having an argument
Turn spats into solutions
couple in argument
When to call it quits.
 
Life Cycle of a Penis
Article
HIV Myth Facts
Slideshow
 
How Healthy is Your Sex Life
Quiz
Couple in bed
Video
 
6 Tips For Teens
Article
Close-up of young man
Article
 
screening tests for men
Slideshow
HPV Vaccine Future
Article