Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

The only sure way to avoid becoming infected with an STD is monogamy with an uninfected partner. It is important for partners to discuss their sexual and STD history before having sex and to consider getting tested. Prevention is possible only if sexually active individuals understand STDs and how they are spread.

The risk for transmission is dramatically reduced with the use of condoms and other safer sex practices.

The following behaviors and conditions can increase the risk for STDs:

  • Engaging in sexual activity when either partner has unhealed lesions (e.g., genital herpes sores, genital warts)
  • Enema or rectal douching before rectal intercourse
  • Rectal or vaginal irritation or infection
  • Sexual activity that may damage the mucosal lining of the vagina or rectum
  • Tampon use (Tampons can cause vaginal dryness and cellular abnormalities. Sanitary napkins, either disposable or washable cotton pads, are recommended.)
  • Vaginal dryness (Water-based lubricant is recommended.)

If you suspect you have an STD, see your physician immediately.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 09 Jun 1998

Last Modified: 05 Oct 2015