Lower your risk of sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections
If you are sexually active or are using illegal drugs, you may lower the risk of getting or transmitting a sexually transmitted and blood-borne infection by following these guidelines:
- limit your number of sexual and drug use partners;
- know your sexual or drug use partner’s history;
- have protected sex - condoms and dental dams offer good protection against STIs, but they must be used properly. Condoms should be used for vaginal, anal and oral sex. A dental dam is a thin square of latex that acts as a barrier between the vagina or anus and the mouth during oral and anal sex. Dental dams can be bought in some stores, or you can make your own using a condom or a latex glove;
- never share drug use equipment with other partners;
- make sure that you have tattoo and body piercing done with sterile equipment;
- contact your local SIDA / AIDS organization to get clean needles / syringes or other drug use equipment and to dispose of used needles and syringes;
- inform your sexual or drug use partners if you have a sexually transmitted or blood-borne infection and make sure they are being tested;
- have regular medical check-ups; and
- talk to your healthcare provider about the hepatitis B and (human papillomavirus) (HPV) vaccines.
- The more sexual and drug use partners you have, the higher your risk of getting a sexually transmitted or blood-borne infection.
- The use of alcohol and drugs lowers the decision-making abilities needed to say no to sex or drug use and to practise safer sex or safer drug use.