Practice safer sex to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections
The only way to completely protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, is to abstain from sexual activities, so our Round Rock obgyns and the obgyn community use the term safer sex instead of safe sex.
STIs can be transmitted via oral, vaginal or anal sex through contact with the genitals, bodily fluids, mouth, rectum or skin. These infections include gonorrhea, genital herpes, chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis B, trichomoniasis, HIV and HPV.
How STIs can affect you
Whether or not you are experiencing symptoms, STIs can affect your health and lead to long-term health consequences if left undiagnosed and untreated. Some serious conditions caused by STIs include infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain.
During pregnancy, STIs present risks for the baby in utero and at delivery. It’s very important to get tested at the first prenatal visit and monitored carefully if you do have an STI.
Safer sex guidelines
There are several steps you can take to practice safer sex and protect yourself.
- Talk to a new partner before you have any sexual contact to understand their sexual history. Talk about being tested for STIs before having sex.
- Unless you are in a monogamous relationship with a partner who has tested negative for STI’s, an important part of safer sex is using a condom every time you have sexual intercourse.
- If you have oral sex, use a Sheer GLYDE or dental dam. Talk to our Round Rock obgyns about the proper use of these devices.
- To decrease your risk of HPV, get the HPV vaccination. It’s appropriate for boys and girls ages 11 to 26.
- Avoid sexual activities that cause breaks or tears in your skin because this can increase the risk of contracting STIs.
- Avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol or using illegal substances. This practice can lead to unsafe sexual practices.
Safer sex is important for women of all ages and stages of life. If you have questions about STIs, screening or how to practice safer sex, you should talk to our Round Rock obgyns. They are always available for confidential, frank conversations with patients. Contact us today for an appointment.