Your sexual health and safety should always be top priority, but since it’s Sexual Health Awareness Month, let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know about sexual health and safe sex.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 20 million STD infections occur in the United States. Some individuals and groups who are at risk for contracting STDs include young adults, gay and bisexual men, and racial and ethnic groups. STDs can spread person to person from:
- Bodily fluids
- Open Sores
Many individuals become sexually active at a young age, but knowing how to do so safely is extremely important. These are a few of the questions you should be asking all of your potential sexual partners before engaging in any sexual acts with them.
Have you been tested?
Don’t be afraid to ask your partner if they’ve been tested recently! Many people worry that this question comes off as judgmental, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Protecting yourself by knowing your partner’s sexual health is a vital part of having safe sex. If your partner hasn’t been tested, ask them to get tested prior to having sex. Your partner should be tested for common STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, HPV (Human Papillomavirus), syphilis, herpes, trichomoniasis, and HIV/AIDS.
What’s your sexual history?
Many college students refer to this as their “number” or “body count”, but all slang terms aside, it’s important to know your partners sexual history. Ask how many partners they’ve had, when they’ve been with those partners, and if they’ve been tested since last being with those people. There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, but your partner should be honest with you. If you feel they’re being dishonest, reconsider the sexual relations you may have in the future.
What form of protection do you use?
Ask your partner what type of protection they typically use, and if they’re prepared with that protection currently. Even if one of you is taking a contraceptive, that doesn’t protect against STDs. Don’t let your partner pressure you into not using protection or using a different form than you feel the most comfortable with. if your partner is uncomfortable with using protection, that should be a big warning sign to you.
What does sex mean to you?
Sexual health is both a mental and physical health. Make sure you and your partner are on the same page prior to having sex to avoid mental and emotional distress after the fact. Is this a monogamous relationship? Is it casual sex? Will you see one another again? There’s nothing wrong with hook-up’s as long as both people know it’s only a hook-up. A miscommunication can lead to awkward tension and emotional pain for both of you. Be sure to clarify the terms of the relationship before engaging in sexual acts.
By knowing your partner’s sexual health and getting yourself tested, you’ve taken a few of the necessary steps to protect your health and give yourself peace of mind. The best way to prevent STDs and other infections is to practice abstinence or celibacy, but if you plan on being sexually active, you can protect yourself from contracting an STD by using condoms or other barriers, avoiding sharing towels and clothes, cleansing before and after sex, getting vaccinated for STDs such as receiving the HPV vaccine, and getting tested regularly.
STD Testing at AFC Urgent Care
Getting tested for STDs can be a nerve-wracking experience, but it doesn’t have to be. At AFC Urgent Care Stamford, we provide discreet STD testing on a walk-in basis. We will respect your privacy throughout the process and provide guidance on further testing or treatment, if necessary. For more information about the services we provide, please call us at 203-969-2000.