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Sexually Transmitted Diseases (cont.)

How do I prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)?

The best way to prevent STDs is to avoid sexual contact with others. If people decide to become sexually active, they can reduce the risk of developing an STD in these ways:

  • Practice abstinence (refrain from sex entirely) or be in a monogamous relationship (both sexual partners are each other's only sexual partner).
  • Delay having sexual relations as long as possible. The younger people are when they become sexually active, the higher the lifetime risk for contracting an STD. The risk also increases with the number of sexual partners.
  • Correctly and consistently use a male latex condom. The spermicide nonoxynol-9, once thought to protect against STDs as well as to prevent pregnancy, has been proven to be ineffective for disease prevention. Do not rely on it. In addition, condoms are only about 90% effective in preventing STDs
  • Have regular medical checkups even if you do not have symptoms of an STD.
  • Learn the symptoms of STDs.
  • Avoid douching because it removes some of the natural protection in the vagina.
  • Vaccines against HPV and hepatitis B are available and effective.

What Is the Prognosis for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)?

Most of the common STDs can be cured with treatment.

  • In addition to the discomfort of the infection, some STDs can cause other, more serious, long-term problems, including infertility and problems in newborns infected by their mothers during pregnancy such as blindness, bone deformities, developmental disabilities, and infrequently, death.
  • HIV can only be slowed, not eliminated, and may cause death.

Medically reviewed by Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. April is STD Awareness Month.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/21/2017

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