According to The American Journal of Medicine, more than half of the population will have an STD at some point in time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported last fall that rates of STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis all had a significant increase in 2014. The report caused some doctors to point to an increasing STD epidemic in the U.S. However, this epidemic is preventable. There are several steps individuals can take to protect themselves and their partners from STD infection.
According to the CDC, the consistent and correct use of a latex condom is one of the most reliable ways to prevent against STD infection for those who are sexually active. Condoms are most effective against STDs that are spread by genital fluids, like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV. However, condoms are less effective against STDs that are spread by skin-to-skin contact, like herpes, HPV, and syphilis.
Reducing Sexual Partners
The most effective method of STD prevention is to abstain from sex entirely. However, reducing the number of sexual partners is also an effective way to reduce risk of infection. Staying with one uninfected sexual partner is a reliable way to prevent an STD infection, however it is essential that both you and your partner have first tested negative for STDs and are mutually monogamous.
Vaccination & STD Testing
Certain STDs, like HPV, can be protected against through vaccination. Getting vaccinated before sexual exposure is a reliable measure to take to prevent infection with HPV. STD testing is another way to prevent the spread of STDs. The CDC recommends that those who are sexually active get tested once a year. Ask any new partners to get tested before intercourse. Informing yourself about your and your partner’s health is one of the most effective methods of STD prevention.