In a world where sex is glorified and marketed consistently through music, TV shows, and commercials; sex education is more important than ever. Most importantly, safe sex will never go out of style. In moments of temptation, it’s easy to be irresponsible for a quick moment of pleasure, but hasty decisions can lead to long-term situations such as STDs, HIV, and unwanted pregnancies.
According to the CDC, STDs remain far too high even after the impact of the pandemic. “There were 2.5 million total infections in 2021, up from a record 2.4 million in 2020. HIV cases rose by 16 percent, gonorrhea by 2.8 percent, and chlamydia by 3 percent.”
The increase was a surprise since most people were on lockdown for a long period, but since the lockdown has lifted STDs continue to rise since people are more socially engaged. Recent billboards and advertisements of knowing your status are showing up more frequently, so here are seven ways to protect yourself.
1. Abstain from sex
The best way to avoid a pregnancy or prevent coming into contact with any type of STI, STD, or HIV is to just refrain from having sex altogether.
2. Always use protection
Be sure to use protection every time. Men have the option to use condoms and there is also the option for women to use a female condom. Although, a male condom is much easier to use since it’s being placed on an erect penis, women, have to make sure that the inner ring of the female condom hits the cervix.
3. Research birth control options
There are many ways to use birth control to prevent unplanned pregnancies such as vaginal rings, birth control implants, contraceptive patches, vaginal diaphragms, cervical caps, contraceptive sponges, and copper IUDs. The most effective forms of birth control are the implant and the IUD.
4. Know your status
The most important thing to do is to know your status. It’s recommended to get tested before and after each new partner. Even in a monogamous relationship, it is smart to get regular checkups to protect yourself.
5. Communicate with your partner
Be sure you are communicating with your partner or partners about your status, and how important protection is to you. If they can’t respect it, don’t lie down with them.
6. Limit your partners
Another effective way of protecting yourself is limiting your partners. It is harder to keep track of your status with multiple partners, and you can put multiple people at risk.
7. Practice monogamy
Another way to practice safe sex is by having one partner. This can reduce the chances of contracting diseases, but you should still get frequent checkups to in case you suspect infidelity.