STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) are also commonly known as STIs (sexually transmitted infections). STIs/STDs can be a very real risk for people if they are engaging in certain types of sexual contact.
It’s good to know that when it comes to STIs or STDs, there are four modes of transmission. They are…
- Vaginal fluids
- Skin to skin contact
In order for someone to contract an STI, they would need to engage in sexual activity with a person who already has an STI in which one or more of these modes would come into play.
STIs can be transmitted through oral sex, anal sex, and vaginal sex. Many people think that oral sex poses no risk of STI transmission. But the fact is, you can get all but two STIs (except for pubic lice and Trichomoniasis) when engaging in oral sex with someone who has the infection.
But the good news is that there are ways to reduce the risk of STI transmission! Using a condom for oral sex on a penis will help drastically reduce your risk of transmitting an STI. If oral sex is being performed on the vagina or anus, a dental dam can be used to help reduce your risk also! You can pick up free condoms and dental dams at Teen Clinic.
Female (or internal) condoms and male (or external) condoms will also help reduce STI transmission during anal or vaginal sex.
It’s important to know though that 75% of people with vaginas and 50% of people with penises show no symptoms of the most common infections! So even if you or your partners don’t have any symptoms of an infection, it’s still a good idea to get tested periodically. Some people get tested every time they have a new partner, every 6 months, or even once a year based on their risk factors. You can test for STIs 14 days after sex to get an accurate result.