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I don’t want to get an STI – how can I protect myself?

If you’re having sex, there is only one way to protect yourself from getting an STI, and that’s by practicing safe sex. 

Get protected NOW:

  • Always use a condom! Having unprotected sex increases your chances of getting an STI.
  • Stick with one partner: Having more than one sexual partner puts you at a higher risk of getting an STI. 
  • It is also okay to say NO if you don’t want to have sex. This is a sure way to protect yourself from getting an STI! Remember, no one can pressure you into having sex if you don’t want to. All partners must give consent (actively agree) to have sex and it’s best to get tested for STIs together before engaging in any sexual activities. 
  • If you have any signs of an STI, get treated. Having an STI puts you at a higher risk of getting another one. If you have a discharge, rash, vaginal or penile burning or sores on your vagina or penis go to the clinic to get checked and treated as soon as possible.
  • If your partner has had an STI, make sure you get checked and treated: Sometimes you don’t know you have an STI, as you may not have any physical signs. If your partner has been diagnosed with an STI, or you think they may have an STI, get tested and treated yourself. 

HIV and STIs

Having some STIs (such as herpes, gonorrhoea and syphilis) can increase your risk of getting HIV if you are HIV-negative and are exposed to HIV. People living with HIV may also be at greater risk of getting or passing on other STIs to their partners. When people living with HIV get STIs, they can experience more serious problems from them or find it more difficult to get rid of these infections. If you’re HIV positive, it’s especially important to use condoms and get treated if you have signs of an STI.

Oral sex and STIs

You might not know this, but oral sex can cause STIs in your mouth and throat. You can also get an STI on the penis or vagina from a partner who has a mouth infection. 

It is always important to use a condom when having oral sex because the risks of contracting an STI from oral sex are real. You can also use a dental dam which is a piece of latex that covers your partner’s private parts or anus so there is no direct contact.

The best way to protect yourself against STIs if you are having sex is to ALWAYS use a condom. Learn how to use a condom correctly here.

It can be scary to hear that your partner has an STI. Find out what steps to take in this article.

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