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Sexual Health Week: How much do you know about preventing STIs?
Tuesday, 15 September · 2 min read

If you're about to start a sexual relationship with someone new or planning to have sex for the first time, you should take steps to protect yourself and your partner from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Having vaginal, anal or oral sex means you're at risk of catching an STI, because they can spread through semen, vaginal fluids, skin contact, blood, saliva and faeces.

But you can still enjoy an active, healthy sex life by practicing safe sex. This means:

  • getting tested before you have sex — you can still have an STI even if you don't have symptoms, so make sure you and your partner get checked first
  • using a condom every time you have sex — this includes when you have oral, vaginal and anal sex
  • getting vaccinated against STIs — there are vaccines for hepatitis A and B, and the human papillomavirus virus (HPV)
  • not having sex if you've been drinking alcohol or using drugs as this may affect the decisions you make

You can also reduce your risk from STIs by limiting the number of people you have sex with.

But you don't need to have a lot of sexual partners to get an STI, so using condoms effectively and getting tested regularly is key to maintaining good sexual health.

Quote of the day

Sexual health is dependent upon an individual’s wellbeing and sense of self-esteem. Sexual health requires trust, honesty, and communication.

Eli Coleman, professor

Quick Quiz
True or false: Using 2 condoms provides more protection than 1
How to use condoms effectively