According to the CDC, close to 20 million cases of STDs are detected each year. That’s a staggering number considering that billions of dollars are spent each year on creating awareness about these conditions.
But despite all the infomercials, adverts, blogs and social media shares, STDs manage to sneak in and go undetected for a long time. This can also be attributed partly to the fact that most of the common STDs are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms.
If you suspect that you might have picked up something nasty from your last romp under the covers, the best way to put speculation to rest might be to get it tested.
Otherwise, here are a few easy ways to stay safe.
You really thought it was going to be easy, did you? Jokes apart, Abstinence from sex until you know that you have a partner you can trust is the best way to prevent an STD. Not what most people are willing to follow though. Stay monogamous, stay STD free. If you think you are about to get carried away after a wild night, use protection.
Use a condom
This and also a dental dam if you think oral sex is on the cards. Most of the STDs are transmitted via unprotected genital to genital or oral to genital contact. Use protection. Even better, talk to your partner about getting tested for STDs before you go all the way.
Get yourself tested
If you have recently had unprotected sex with more than one sexual partner, then it is crucial that you screen yourself for STDs. Many STDs are not revealed in screenings and tests for a few months after you get infected. Schedule multiple screenings in a year to ensure that you know that you are safe and clean.
Never trust appearances
There’s a general consensus among men and women that someone who looks ‘clean or sophisticated’ might not have an STD. That’s a load of bull. Appearances can be deceptive. You cannot look at someone and assume that they might not have an STD. Always play by the rules and use protection. If the opposite partner insists or is pushy towards not using a condom, refuse to have sex. Remember, it is your right to refuse an intimate relationship if you feel that something is off.
Limit your sexual encounters
If you are jumping into bed with every man or woman you meet, then you are a magnet for sexually transmitted diseases. Limiting your partners is the next best thing to abstinence and using protection. One of the proven ways is to make a list of criteria that someone needs to fulfill before you get into bed with them. Say, a relationship for a year or staying monogamous.
Don’t have sex after a party
When you have a couple of drinks or have done drugs, you are most likely to make poor decisions. If you are about to go to a party, follow a strict no-sex-afterwards rule. If you find this difficult to enforce yourself, ask a friend to help you with it.