Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are spread by sexual contact involving the genitals, mouth, or rectum, and can also be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus before or during delivery. STDs, which affect both men and women, are a worldwide public health concern.
STDs can be spread by people who don't know they are infected. Always use protection every time you have sex, including oral sex, until you are sure you and your partner are not infected with an STD.
If you are in a relationship, delay having sex until you are physically and emotionally prepared, have agreed to only have sex with each other, and have both been tested for STDs.
Abstinence as prevention
Completely avoiding sexual contact (abstinence), including intercourse or oral sex, is the only certain way to prevent an infection.
Discuss safe sex with your partner
Discuss STDs before you have sex with someone. Even though a sex partner doesn't have symptoms of an STD, he or she may still be infected.
Questions to ask someone before having sex include:
Safe sex practices
Some STDs, such as HIV, can take up to 6 months before they can be detected in the blood. Genital herpes and the human papillomavirus (HPV) can be spread when symptoms are not present. Even if you and your partner have been tested, use condoms for all sex until you and your partner haven't had sex with another person for 6 months. Then get tested again.
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