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STI Awareness Month

April 23, 2015

Did you know April is Sexually transmitted infections Awareness Month? STI’s for short, are a very real risk and something every sexually active person should be aware of.  Being sexually active comes with a certain level of risk.  The only way to be sexually active and not have any risk is abstinence (i.e. not having sex at all).  With that being said it is very possible to have a safe and healthy sex life with very low risk of infection or unwanted pregnancy.  Here are some simple steps to keep you and your partner safe, healthy, and sexy.

1. Limit your number of partners.  If you are having sex, limiting the number of partners gives you the least possible risk.  A monogamous relationship is the great way to limit potential STI exposure.  Each additional partner expands the number of people you are sexually exposed to.  Click here to check out how many people you may have been exposed to.

2. Use a condom or a barrier.  If you are sexually active condoms (male or female) or dental damns are very effective at preventing the spread of a sexually transmitted infection when properly used.  The key is to make sure that everything is covered and that no fluid is transferred.  A condom won’t protect you from syphilis if the sore is at the base of the penis and not covered by the condom.  Here are tips on condom use and finding the right one for you.  Get your free condoms from the Hillcrest Clinic downtown or at one of our participating dispenser sites.

3. Get tested regularly.  Many sexually transmitted infections can be carried with little to no symptoms.  Regular sexual health screenings and STI testing help you know your status and control your risk.  Counselors can discuss your particular situation and help find risk reduction solutions that work for you to make sure you get the most out of your sex life.  Hillcrest Family Services offers friendly confidential sexual health consultations to help you make the best choices for your situation.

– Trav Ayers, HIV PR Coordinator