5 Ways you can avoid contracting an STI
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are more serious than we think because they can disrupt your sexual reproductive health. This means when an STI is contracted and goes untreated you may suffer from serious sexual health problems. The idea is not to scare you Choma, but it is important that we know how to avoid contracting any STI. The common misconception is that STIs are spread through unprotected sexual contact only. This is not true, and in fact STIs such as herpes and gonorrhoea can be contracted through skin-to-skin contact. Take a quick look at how you can avoid contracting an STI.
Safe sex is one of the best ways to avoid contracting an STI. Safe sex means to educate yourself about the ways one can contract STIs and to practise methods that will help you reduce the risk of contracting one. Use condoms when you have oral or vaginal sex. You can get free condoms at your nearest clinic. The double-up method is good for preventing pregnancies and contracting STIs. This method includes using two types of contraception methods, a hormonal contraception and the use of condoms. If your partner has sores, blisters or scabs around their genitals, avoid any sexual contact. Rather encourage him or her to get tested for STIs.
Needles and razor blades
STIs are viruses and bad bacteria that can survive in different environments, including needles and razor blades. Sharing shaving sticks and medical insulin needles should be avoided. It may seem harmless but you will be putting yourself at risk for serious infections. Do not risk it!
There are vaccinations available in hospitals and some clinics for hepatitis A and B and some types of HPV. Vaccinations help to protect you from infections and sometimes serious illnesses. While vaccinations are a good way to prevent STI infection, you will still need to practise safe and healthy sexual behaviour. If you suspect that you might be infected with an STI, you can go to your nearest health clinic and ask to be tested.
Abstinence is another good way to avoid contracting an STI. Abstinence is a choice a person makes to wait until they are ready to have sex. You can still choose to abstain even if you have had sex before, this is called secondary abstinence. Remember you can still contract an STI from dry humping with no clothes on and unprotected oral sex.
When you have few partners you are able to reduce your chances of contracting an STI. Ideally, you should only have one partner. This decreases your risk of contracting STIs, including HIV, because you are only having sex with one person. You can’t control your partner’s choices but you can have a conversation with them about preventing STIs and staying safe before having sex. Just keep in mind that a partner who loves and respects you won’t have partners on the side.
STIs are so easy to contract and hard to detect as they may not show any obvious sign. So anyone can contract an STI and there is no reason to feel ashamed for having one. The most important thing is to get tested and treated for an STI. More importantly, you should educate yourself about the ways to avoid contracting them again.
Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can always contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).
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