When having sex it’s important to make sure you’re taking all the precautions to avoid picking up an STI. Most STIs are curable with treatment but for those that aren’t curable, if left untreated, they can cause serious health problems which can, in extreme cases, lead to death.
We’ve put together some top tips on what to do when having sex to keep yourself and your partner safe.
Always Use A Condom
It seems like an obvious statement to make but the fact is that nearly half of Brits are risking STIs and unplanned pregnancy by not using a condom when having sex. Durex found that only 46 per cent of Brits always used a condom with a new partner.
Although other forms of contraception will protect against pregnancy, they won’t protect against STIs; condom’s will. They should be used when having vaginal, anal and oral sex to prevent any STIs being passed from partner to partner.
They are made from thin latex usually, but should you be allergic to latex then you can get Condoms made from polyurethane or polyisoprene instead.
If you are using lubrication when having sex with a latex condom then make sure the lube is a water-based lube as other lubrication and oils break down the latex in the condom preventing it from protecting you.
Always use Condoms with the CE mark on them as this means they have met European safety standards.
STIs are passed through bodily fluids as well as skin to skin contact. These bodily fluids can be semen, vaginal fluids and blood.
To avoid any of these bodily fluids entering your system it’s important to use other methods as well as condoms. Cling film (plastic wrap) and latex gloves are good for this.
When a man is performing oral sex on a woman, he may have small cuts in his mouth. Should any bodily fluids get into these small cuts, he could become infected so by placing cling film over the vagina, this will prevent any fluids passing from person to person. Always use a new piece each time.
When you are using your hands to penetrate your partner, using latex gloves will protect you as they will block any bodily fluids and stop them from becoming transferred. Again, always remember to use new gloves each time you penetrate your partner.
Make sure that you have regular STI tests, especially when you’ve changed sexual partners, to ensure that you haven’t contracted any STIs.
If you have contracted and STI then having regular tests will ensure that you catch the STI before it comes a serious health risk.
The sooner you discover an STI then the sooner you can begin treatment for it. Each STI comes with a different treatment and your GP will advise you on how to proceed.
To get tested for an STI you can either visit your GP, your local GUM clinic or a sexual health clinic.
Cara Mason @FemaleFirst_UK