~ Weekly Health Advice from PMGH – World AIDS Day, 1st December 2016 – Part 3 of 3 ~

Top Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Getting HIV or STD’s.
1. Always Practice Safe Sex: When used consistently and correctly, condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV. They are also effective at preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that are transmitted through bodily fluids, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. However, they provide less protection against STDs spread through skin-to-skin contact like human papillomavirus (genital warts), genital herpes, and syphilis. Have condoms handy if you will be having sex and make sure you know how to use them correctly.
2. Use Lubricant: Condoms should always be worn and used with a water based lubricant which helps prevent condoms from breaking.
3. Get Tested Regularly: (even If you are in a monogamous relationship) and encourage your partner to do the same. If you are not at high risk for getting HIV or any STD (not having sex regularly), it is still important to get tested. Always get tested before starting a new sexual relationship and encourage your new partner to do the same.
4. Avoid Sexual Activity: If you feel you are unable to have sex safely, you should avoid all sexual activity as you may be putting yourself or others at risk. If you are unsure if you have HIV or an STD get tested. If your test has returned positive make sure to listen to your doctor’s advice on treatment and make sure you have the all-clear from your doctor before resuming sexual activity.
5. Have Sex Only Within a Mutually Monogamous Relationship: Two people who have sex only with one another don’t have any opportunity to bring a new STD into the relationship. If you and your partner have been tested and are healthy, remaining faithful to each other is a very good way to reduce your chances of contracting an STD. It is important to be comfortable talking about safe sex with your partner.
6. Never Rely on the Withdrawal Method: Pre-ejaculate of an HIV-positive man may transmit the virus, always use a condom.
7. Only Use Safe Injecting Equipment: Using unclean or sharing injecting drug equipment is one of the most efficient ways of transmitting HIV.
8. Don’t Drink or Use Drugs Before Having Sex: It’s difficult to make responsible choices about your sex life if you’re impaired by drugs or alcohol. When you are under the influence, you are more likely to choose to have sex with someone you wouldn’t otherwise have picked as a partner, and less likely to be able to successfully negotiate safer sex.
11. Be Comfortable Saying No!!!!: You should never have sex unless you want to. Get comfortable saying no. If you don’t feel it is right, that’s ok. It’s your choice to say yes to sex, and it’s also your choice to say no. Similarly, if your partner tells you no, listen.
12. Be Responsible for Your Own Protection: It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female. If you’re going to have sex, you should be prepared. This is not only a matter of emotional preparation but practicality. Bring your own safer sex supplies. The worst thing that can happen is that you’ll have extras. If you are unsure how to use these correctly talk to your doctor.
Remember: Can you use two condoms for extra protection against STD’s and Pregnancy? No, you should never use more than one condom at a time. Using two condoms actually offers less protection than using just one. Why? Using two condoms can cause friction between them, weakening the material and increasing the chance that the condoms might break. No other method of birth control is as successful at protecting people against sexually transmitted diseases as a condom so always use a condom if you are having sex but always only use one at a time.