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Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)


In general, sexually transmitted infections are highly preventable.

The only method guaranteed to prevent STIs is to avoid any kind of sexual contact, but we know this won’t appeal to everyone! There are things you can do to limit the risk of exposure to infections while still enjoying an active sex life.

The best way to avoid most STIs is to use a condom when you have sex. There are some other things you can do to reduce the chances of catching a sexually transmitted infection. These include:

  • limiting the number of people you have sex with
  • talking honestly with potential partners about your sexual history
  • getting tested, along with your partner, before having sex
  • avoiding sex when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. People who are drunk or using drugs often fail to have safe sex
  • where appropriate, getting vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B (HBV)

The only time unprotected sex is completely safe from infection with chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV or syphilis is if you and your partner have sex only with each other, and each of you tested negative for these STIs at least three months after you had sex with any other partners. Otherwise, you should take precautions.