You can dramatically decrease your risk of developing a sexually transmitted disease (STD) by following a few simple rules.
- Consider periodic abstinence — not having sex for a time — when you fear you may be at risk for an STD, or when you do not know the sexual history of a potential partner.
- Consider a monogamous relationship — having sex with only one partner who either has not had sex with another person, or has been tested for all STDs.
- If you have multiple sexual partners at once, or practice serial monogamy (a series of sexual relationships with one person at a time), do one of the following:
- Use condoms until you and your partner have been tested for all STDs, then maintain a monogamous relationship with that one sexual partner.
- Use condoms with every partner every time you have anal, vaginal or oral sex.
- Limit the number of sexual partners. The more sexual partners you have, the more likely you are to develop an STD.
- If you or one of your partners becomes infected with an STD, get treated immediately, and inform all of your sexual partners so they can get treated. By getting treated immediately you decrease your risk of getting HIV, since other STD infections increase your risk of HIV infection.
- Look for symptoms of STDs with any partner you plan to have or are having sex with. Do not have sex if your partner has sores, ulcers, warts, rashes, or other unusual symptoms in the genital area. Urge your partner to seek medical attention as soon as possible.