STIs: How infections are passed on and how to avoid them
You don't need to have sex with lots of people to be at risk of catching an STI. Because symptoms frequently go unnoticed you may have had sex with someone years before and become infected with an STI, so even if you're in a long-term relationship there's still a risk. In other words, the belief that people who sleep around or are unclean are the ones who get infections is rubbish: we're all at risk.
Infections can be transmitted a number of ways:
- Through vaginal sex
- Through oral sex
- Through anal sex
- Through skin to skin contact (e.g. genital warts)
Apart from leading a life of celibacy the most effective ways of reducing your risk of catching an infection are:
- Using a condom. Making sure you're prepared by carrying a condom when you're likely to need one (or maybe even when you don't expect to need one!) will help to you avoid risking unprotected sex.
- Getting checked regularly and asking your partner to be checked at a sexual health/genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic as well.
Remember, most infections can be easily treated
Page created on July 16th, 2003
Page updated on January 16th, 2010