Staying Healthy and STD Free

How to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs):

Don't Have Sex: The only sure way to prevent getting an STD is to not have sex (abstinence). For more information about abstinence and how to talk to you partner about this, visit Planned Parenthood's website.

Practice Safer Sex, Use a Condom: If you have sex, use a latex condom each time. It's important to use condoms the right way -- to see how, click here. Birth control methods like an IUD, the pill, Depo Provera (the "shot") or diaphragms DO NOT protect against STDs. To learn more about the different birth control methods, click here.

Communicate: Talk to your partner(s) about safer sex and protecting against STDs and HIV BEFORE you have sex. Visit the GYT-Get Yourself Tested website or inSpot's website.

Limit Your Number of Sex Partners: The more people you have sex with, the greater your chance of getting an STD. A monogamous relationship — where you and your partner only have sex with each other AND you have both been tested - is safest.

Get Tested: If you're having sex, go to a clinic for an STD checkup at least once a year – and sooner if you change partners, have more than one partner or if you think your partner may be having sex with anyone else.

Get Treated: If you have an STD, make sure both you and your partner(s) get treated. Do not have sex again until both you and your partner(s) complete treatment (for chlamydia and gonorrhea, that is 7 days after you took the medicine).

Do not Share Needles: Make sure you use a clean, new needle for tattooing, body piercing and injecting drugs/hormones.

Seek Care: If you are pregnant, get prenatal care early. It is important to find and treat any STDs as soon as possible so that you don't pass the infection on to your baby.

For more information on STDs, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website.

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