Sex is considered safe if both you and your partner: are not infected, have never shot drugs, and have never had sex with anyone else. If you are sexually active, you and your partners can take steps to make your sex safer. Safer sex lowers your risk of sexually-transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy.
What You Should Do
There are several ways you and your partners can practice safer sex. Remember, although condoms can help reduce your exposure to sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), they are not foolproof. You may also choose to:
- Not have sex. Abstinence is the only sure way to avoid getting an STD or pregnant.
- Speak with your healthcare provider or a family planning agency about your birth control options to decide what methods may be best for you. more
- Have sex only with one uninfected person. If you're not in a monogamous relationship, be sure to: always use latex condoms, limit the number of partners you have, and have regular exams.
- Use a condom consistently and correctly. HIV testing sites offer free condoms.
- Get tested regularly for STDs, including the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that can cause AIDS. Earlier treatment can better improve the health outcomes for both you and your partner and help prevent more severe illness, other infections, and complications.
- Talk to your doctor about which vaccinations are right for you to prevent certain STDs, including the human papilloma virus (HPV), which can cause cancer, and hepatitis, which can cause severe liver disease.