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How Can I Lower My Risk Using Safer Sex?
Safer Sex ("Safe Sex") at a Glance
Reduces our risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) Using condoms makes vaginal or anal intercourse safer sex Using condoms or other barriers makes oral sex safer sex Having sex play without intercourse can be even safer sex Safer sex can be very pleasurable and exciting.
We all care about protecting ourselves and the ones we love. For sexually active people that means practicing safer sex. We can use it to reduce our risk of getting STDs. It lets us protect ourselves while we have sex. Safer sex is for responsible people who care about their and their partners' pleasure and health.
One way to have safer sex is to only have one partner who has no sexually transmitted infections, and no other partners than you.
But this isn't always the safest kind of safer sex. That's because most people don't know when they have infections. So they can spread STDs without knowing it. And not everyone is honest about their STD status, either. This is why it’s a good idea to get tested for STDs regularly. It’s even better to go with your partner and get tested together, so you know each other’s status.
Some STDs have specific things you can do to lower your risk. For example, you can get the HPV vaccine to protect against the types of HPV that most commonly cause cancer. If you are at very high risk for HIV (like if your partner has HIV), you can talk with a doctor or nurse about using Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). This pill can lower your risk of getting HIV if you take it every day.
It's also important to find other ways to practice safer sex. There are kinds of sex that don’t spread STDs. And there are kinds of sex that have a very low risk of spreading STDs. You may want to think about avoiding vaginal and anal intercourse — which have the highest risk of passing STDs — and sticking to other, safer kinds of sex.
Sexual activities that do not spread STDs include:
Low-risk sexual activities include:
Highest risk sexual activities include:
You can use condoms during vaginal and anal intercourse to make it safer
Infections are passed in different ways. Here are the basics: