Doctors have no vaccine against AIDS. They have no cure for herpes. You can get STDs that have no symptoms but can later leave you sterile. Are you scared of catching an STD? If you’re not, you should be — scared enough to practice safer sex. If you have sex with anyone, you are automatically at risk. So how can you do as much as possible to avoid contracting a sexually transmitted disease?

Truly safe sex means celibacy. Certainly the fewer partners you have, the less risk you have, but catching a disease can happen in only one instance with an infected partner. Even one mistake by one person in a monogamous relationship (perhaps even before you met because some of these diseases don’t make themselves known for years) can lead to both of you becoming infected.

  • Always use a condom.

  • Do not think that condoms are absolute protection against STDs. Remember, condoms have their weak points as well, and some STDs such as herpes are spread through contact with other parts of the genitals.

  • Remember that even oral sex is risky.

  • Have a relationship before you have sex.

  • If you have engaged in risky behavior, get tested by a doctor.

  • Prepare for safe sex before the moment arrives; keep a condom in your purse or pocket, or keep one in your glove compartment or bedside table.

  • If you’re tempted to engage in risky behaviors, remember that you are putting your life at risk for one moment of passion.

Remember, when you go to bed with someone, you’re also going to bed with the germs of every partner that this person ever had.

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