A Guide to Avoiding STIs

Oct 2013

It’s a sad fact, but sexually transmitted infections are more common than they’ve ever been in Britain. In the UK alone, there were around 500,000 cases of reported STIs in 2011. As the majority of cases involve young adults, many experts put this down to the fact that more young people are sexually active today than they have been in the past.

Some STIs are easily treated with antibiotic medication, but other more serious conditions, however, may require more attention. Even the less serious STIs can leave lasting damage if left to develop, so it’s always important to seek treatment if you think you picked up an infection.

But there are also measures you can take to avoid contracting STIs in the first place. Here is our short guide to limiting your risk of infection:

Share Your History With Your Partner

We know it’s not always a comfortable conversation to have, but if you and your partner are thinking of having sex for the first time, it’s important to know about the other person’s sexual history. If your partner has had a number of sexual partners in the past, but hasn’t been tested for STIs, then they’re more likely to be carrying an STI they don’t know about.

Use Protection

The most obvious way of protecting yourself from STIs passed through vaginal fluid or semen is to use a condom. However, do be aware that condoms do not provide protection against infections like genital herpes, which are transmitted through skin-to-skin contact.

Limit Your Partners

Simple rule: the more partners you go to bed with, the more likely you are to pick up an infection. Additionally, if you’re planning on having sex with more than one person at the same time, then this also increases the risk. So, if you’re sexually active, always be aware of the risks, and know your partners before you engage in intercourse with them.

Don’t Feel Like You Have To

Whether protection is available or not, sometimes, people feel like they’re letting their partner down if they don’t have sex, even if they’re not entirely comfortable doing so themselves. But it’s important to realise that you don’t have to have sex if it doesn’t feel right, or safe. Never let your partner pressure you into having sex.