I know we blog about STD prevention a lot. And while the #1 way to prevent an STD is ALWAYS going to be abstinence, many teens and adults do not practice such protection. The reality is that we know why STDs are such a risk and a reality. Just watch Jersey Shore.
In the event that you’re living your life and “living it up” – here’s some practical advice. Even if you are going to choose to play the field and put yourself out there, make sure you still play it smart and know how to protect both yourself and the people you choose to … play around with.
1. Don’t have unprotected sex.
We don’t care if you don’t like it as much. We don’t care if you’re on birth control pills or have an IUD. That’s not the issue when it comes to STDs. STDs travel from person to person because of physical contact, so pregnancy prevention won’t prevent STDs from traveling. If you’re sleeping with someone and cannot answer with 100% certainty that they are the only and last person you will sleep with – get a condom.
2. Don’t assume oral sex won’t give you STDs.
So you didn’t go “all the way.” So what. STDs can travel via oral sex, anal sex, and more. While many STDs do travel genitally, some will impact your mouth and gums, as well as other uncomfortable areas.
3. Don’t necessarily believe the person you sleep with.
It’s not all that uncommon for individuals to sleep with people they … well … just met. While it’s fun in the moment, if you don’t use protection – it might not be fun in the moments, days or even years afterwards if you aren’t careful. It’s amazing what guys and girls will tell you in order to get you in bed. And of course nobody’s going to own up to having an STD when they’re on a mission. So in the event you play along and go for it – don’t be stupid and automatically believe them. Use a condom. You won’t regret it.
4. Don’t assume you don’t need STD tested.
If you’re going to play the field, you need to know that it comes with its fair share of risks. And while you’re obviously willing to take those risks in the moment, make sure to be smart once the moment has passed. If you’ve slept with multiple people, we recommend getting STD tested every year. Just add it to your calendar and make it a priority. Your general physician can run an STD test for you. Or if you’re embarrassed and prefer something more private (that won’t show up in your medical history) – you can walk into a wellness lab, such as local ARCpoint Labs, and request a full panel of STD tests. You’ll get tested for the full range of STDs.
5. Don’t hide your STD.
Say you get STD tested and it comes back positive. What are you going to do? The STD that you have will depend on your route for treatment and disclosure. Some STDs are treatable with prescription medication. Others aren’t curable but there are medications available to lesson its symptoms and reduce its spread. While it’s probably not the news you want to hear – the truth is that if you do have an STD, you need to let your sexual partners know. Your STD could easily become their STD, particularly if you’ve got one that doesn’t have a cure.