How Can I Prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections?
Abstinence is the only guaranteed method of STI prevention. Aside from that, prevention depends on two approaches:
- Barrier methods.
- Scrupulous sexual partner selection and avoidance of high-risk sexual behaviors, such as promiscuity, multiple sex partners, drug abuse (which can also cause hepatitis B and C and HIV/AIDS).
Condom use by men, although not guaranteed and the success of which depends on the correct implementation of it, offers the advantage of an immediate protective measure in unpredicted intimate encounters. A “female” condom is also available, but it is difficult to find and is cumbersome enough to discourage its use. The female diaphragm offers no protection from STIs, nor do other contraceptive methods such as hormonal birth control pills, injections, IUDs or implants.
Sexual intimacy, traditionally and formally, entails a special physical bond within committed couples and a method of reproduction. The physical reward of instant gratification and the hormonal drive in humans, especially the young, also make it a recreational activity.
The more sexual partners one has, the more likely one or more STIs will be contracted. Other conditions also raise risk, such as:
- Adolescence with the associated sense of invulnerability,
- Brief sexual relationships and casual sex
- Inconsistent condom use
- Sequestered young persons at risk, such as detention centers, rehab units, etc
- Drug abuse
The short-term benefit does not balance the long-term risk of promiscuity or unprotected sexual activity, which include expense, pain, infertility, and risk to life from immunological or neurological complications, or malignancies. Prevention is guaranteed with abstinence, but otherwise relies upon avoidance of high-risk activities, scrupulous barrier methods, and a high threshold for selection choice of sexual partners.