How do you prevent STDs?
Not having sex is the only way to completely prevent contracting a sexually transmitted disease. It is important to note that passing STDs does not require penetration of the mouth, vagina, or anus by the penis or tongue. Simple genital to genital skin rubbing is sometimes enough to allow viruses or bacteria to be passed. Knowing how to protect yourself most effectively is important. Latex condoms are recommended for oral, anal, or vaginal sex. They can be purchased in most drug stores or supermarkets. Make sure the package says they are latex. You can purchase condoms that are already lubricated and you can buy water-based lubricants separately in the drug store. Use latex condoms only with water-based products. Lubricants that are oil-based like petroleum jelly or hand lotion weaken latex, making it more likely to break and decreasing its protective value. For vaginal sex, the female condom is another prevention option. It is a soft pouch made of polyurethane that a woman inserts in the vagina before sex. Like male latex condoms, the female condom should be used only once and then thrown away. For oral sex, latex dental dams (available in most adult book stores or medical supply stores) regular household plastic wrap, or unlubricated latex condoms can all be used as moisture barriers between the mouth and a partner's vagina, anus, or penis. STDs such as HIV and hepatitis B that are transmitted through body fluid exchange can be passed by sharing intravenous drug needles with an infected person. If you are an IV drug user, do not share needles.