Abstinence is the best way to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections. Having sex with only one uninfected partner who only has sex with you is also safe. Here are other things you can do to protect yourself:
- Use a latex condom every time for vaginal, anal and oral sex. Condoms will help protect you from STIs much of the time. Both men and women should carry condoms.
- In addition to condoms, use spermicide.
- Talk to your partner about past sex partners and about needle drug use. Don't have sex with someone who you think may have an STI.
- Before you have sex, look closely at your partner for any sign of an STI – a rash, a sore, redness or discharge. If you see anything that worries you, don't have sex!
- Get checked for an STI every time you have a health exam. If you have more than one sex partner, get examined for an STI any time you think you might be at risk, even if you don't have symptoms.
- Know the signs and symptoms of an STI. If you notice a symptom that worries you, get checked.
- If you have an STI, your partner(s) must get treated when you do.
- If you have an STI, don't have sex until your doctor says you're cured.
Last Reviewed: September 2019