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What are the 100 ways to prevent STDs?

What would make a man think of the 100 ways to prevent STDs? That sounds hilarious, right? To some people that Sexually transmitted diseases had dealt with, they would even desire to know a thousand ways STDs can be prevented.

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The impact of STDs is multifaceted, affecting individual health, public health, economics, and societal attitudes toward sexuality.

While there may not be 100 discrete ways to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), there are broad categories and strategies that can be helpful.

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It is important to note that sexual health involves a holistic approach and isn’t limited only to STD prevention.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), which are also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), have been documented throughout human history, though the understanding, management, and cultural attitudes towards these diseases have changed significantly over time.  See below for a brief history of STDs.

History of STDs and their impact on health

The first recorded outbreak of what is believed to be syphilis occurred in Europe in the late 15th century. At the time, it was often referred to as the “great pox” to distinguish it from smallpox. Treatments ranged from mercury application to sweating and were often as harmful as the disease itself.

  • 18th to 19th Century: In this period, the understanding of STDs grew slightly, and some early preventive measures were introduced. The advent of microscopy in the late 17th and 18th centuries allowed for more accurate diagnosis and understanding of STDs.
  • Early to Mid 20th Century: This period saw a breakthrough in the treatment of STDs with the discovery of antibiotics. Penicillin, discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming, was later found to be an effective cure for syphilis. This discovery marked a major turning point in the history of STDs.
  • Late 20th Century: The late 20th century brought the onset of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which drastically changed the global perception of STDs. HIV/AIDS has killed millions worldwide since it was first identified in the early 1980s. The impact of HIV/AIDS has been enormous, leading to huge investments in medical research, changes in public health policy, and a significant shift in societal attitudes toward sexuality and STDs.
  • 21st Century: In the modern era, there’s a comprehensive understanding of STDs, their transmission, prevention, and treatment. However, STD rates are still high globally due to various factors like lack of access to healthcare, stigma, and lack of education. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has also become a significant problem, with some strains of gonorrhea now resistant to nearly every class of antibiotics commonly used to treat it.

Reasons to prevent sexually transmitted diseases

See below;

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Human Costs

STDs have historically caused significant morbidity and mortality. Syphilis, for example, was a major cause of death in the 19th and early 20th centuries. HIV/AIDS, first identified in the 1980s, has since killed millions of people worldwide. Preventing STDs can save lives and improve quality of life.

Social Impact

STDs have also been linked to significant social consequences, such as stigma, discrimination, and societal disruption. For example, the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s caused significant fear and stigma, and it affected particular communities disproportionately.

Economic Impact

STDs impose a heavy economic burden due to the cost of treatment and lost productivity. For example, the cost of managing HIV/AIDS, including antiretroviral therapy and managing opportunistic infections, is significant.

Antimicrobial Resistance

Overuse of antibiotics for the treatment of bacterial STDs like Gonorrhea has led to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains, complicating treatment and making prevention even more crucial.

Impact on Future Generations

Some STDs like Syphilis and HIV can be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy and childbirth, affecting newborn health and survival.

What are the 100 ways to prevent STDs?

You don’t need to know the 100 ways to prevent STDs. What you need is to be intentional about your health and to modify and put into practice, what you have already known.

What are the 100 ways to prevent STDs
Photo by cottonbro studio from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/

Let’s take a deep look at the cardinal things you ought to know about the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.

  1. Abstinence: This is the only 100% effective way to prevent STDs.
  2. Vaccination: Vaccines are available for some STDs like HPV and Hepatitis B. Make sure to get vaccinated if you’re in the age group for which these vaccines are recommended.
  3. Use condoms correctly and every time: They are very effective at preventing many STDs like HIV, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.
  4. Limit number of sexual partners: The more partners, the higher the risk of exposure to STDs.
  5. Mutual Monogamy: Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results.
  6. Get Regular Check-ups: Regular STD testing is important, even if you are in a monogamous relationship.
  7. Communicate with your partner(s): Discussing sexual health and history can help you make informed decisions.
  8. Education: Understand the risks and methods of prevention.
  9. Avoid Drug and Alcohol Abuse: Substance abuse can impair judgement and result in risky sexual behavior.
  10. Treatment: If you have an STD, getting treatment prevents the spread to others.
  11. Regular Pap Tests: For women, regular Pap tests can detect HPV and early stages of cervical cancer.
  12. Use dental dams for oral sex: STDs can also be transmitted through oral sex.
  13. Avoid Sharing Underwear or Towels: Some STDs like trichomoniasis can be spread this way.
  14. Use clean needles: If you use injectable drugs, always use new, clean needles.
  15. PrEP and PEP: If you are at high risk for HIV, medications like pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) can lower your risk.
  16. Understand that some contraceptives do not protect against STDs: Birth control methods like the pill, patches, rings, and IUDs do not protect against STDs.
  17. Practice Safe Sex even during Menstruation: The chance of getting or spreading an STD can be higher during this time.
  18. Get Tested After Ending a Relationship: Before starting a new relationship, make sure you are STD free.
  19. Get Regular Health Checkups: Sometimes STDs are detected during routine health checkups.
  20. Use Lubricant to Prevent Condom Breakage: But remember, only water-based lubricants should be used with latex condoms.
  21. Use condoms for toys: If you’re using sex toys, cover them with a new condom for each partner or between anal and vaginal use.
  22. Disinfect sex toys: Regularly cleaning sex toys can help prevent STDs.
  23. Use latex gloves for manual stimulation: This can help protect you and your partner from various STDs.
  24. Practice hygiene: Washing before and after sex can remove some disease-causing organisms.
  25. Understand the risks of each type of sexual activity: Different activities carry different risks. For example, anal sex typically carries a higher risk of transmission for many STDs compared to other forms of sex.
  26. Regular health screenings: This doesn’t just apply to STD tests, but overall health. Conditions like diabetes can make you more susceptible to infections.
  27. Understand symptoms of STDs: Knowing what to look out for can help you seek treatment early and avoid passing an infection to others.
  28. Know your partner’s STD status: Before engaging in sexual activity, know your partner’s STD status.
  29. Do not engage in ‘micro-cheating’: This involves intimate emotional or physical interaction with people outside your relationship, which can increase the risk of STDs.
  30. Avoid sex with anonymous partners: The less you know about a partner’s sexual history, the greater the risk of STDs.
  31. Engage in less risky sexual behaviors: Such as mutual masturbation, which is unlikely to spread STDs.
  32. Avoid engaging in sexual activities while undergoing treatment for an STD: Doing so can cause the treatment to be less effective.
  33. Consider male circumcision: There is evidence to suggest that male circumcision can reduce the risk of certain STDs, including HIV, in men.
  34. Do not douche: Douching can upset the natural balance of organisms in the vagina and increase the risk of STDs.
  35. Get the HPV test along with the Pap test (for women): The test can be done at the same time and can help health care professionals catch early signs of disease.
  36. Check for sores or discharges before engaging in sexual activity: Visible sores or unusual discharges can be signs of STDs.
  37. Urinate after sex: Particularly for women, urinating after sex can help flush out bacteria, reducing the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs), though it’s unclear if it prevents STDs.
  38. Use antiretroviral therapy (ART) if you are HIV-positive: Effective ART reduces the viral load to undetectable levels, significantly reducing the risk of transmitting HIV.
  39. Regular Hepatitis C testing for high-risk individuals: Those with a history of drug injection, especially with shared needles, should have regular screenings for Hepatitis C.
  40. Avoid ‘stealthing’: This term refers to the non-consensual removal of a condom during sex, which can greatly increase the risk of STDs.
  41. Stay informed: Medical advice and recommendations can change over time. Stay updated on the latest information.
  42. Get regular HPV tests: For women over 30, getting an HPV test along with a Pap test can provide additional protection against cervical cancer.
  43. Prioritize mental health: Stress and other mental health issues can sometimes lead to risky behavior.
  44. Use female condoms: If a male condom isn’t appropriate or available, consider female condoms.
  45. Know your STD status before pregnancy: Some STDs can affect pregnancy or be passed onto the baby, so it’s important to be tested before trying to conceive.
  46. Consider spermicides: Some, but not all, spermicides have been found to kill or inhibit the growth of some STDs, but they should always be used with a barrier method.
  47. Try polyurethane condoms: If you or your partner are allergic to latex, these can be a good alternative.
  48. Use condoms during the entire sexual act: Condoms should be worn from start to finish, not just at the point of ejaculation.
  49. Always check the condom’s expiration date: Out-of-date condoms can be less effective.
  50. Use only water-based lubricants with latex condoms: Oil-based lubricants can degrade the latex and increase the risk of breakage.
  51. Get vaccinated against Hepatitis A: Hepatitis A can be sexually transmitted, particularly through anal-oral contact.
  52. If a partner has an outbreak of herpes, avoid sexual contact: Even if you also have herpes, you can get re-infected or the outbreak can become more severe.
  53. Be aware of any allergies to latex: If either you or your partner are allergic to latex, use polyurethane condoms instead.
  54. Don’t reuse condoms or dental dams: Always use a new one for each sex act.
  55. Be aware of potential signs of STDs in your partner: Things like sores, bumps, rashes, blisters, or discharge can be signs of an STD.
  56. Avoid sexual contact during an STD outbreak: This includes oral, vaginal, and anal sex.
  57. Don’t share sex toys with multiple partners: Unless you are cleaning them thoroughly or using a new condom on them each time.
  58. Don’t share needles for drug use: This can transmit diseases like HIV and hepatitis.
  59. Be aware that certain STDs can be passed on through non-sexual contact: This includes things like sharing towels or bedding with someone who has an STD like scabies or pubic lice.
  60. Be aware that certain STDs can be passed on from mother to child during birth: This includes STDs like HIV and syphilis.
  61. Be aware of ‘super infections’: This is when a person with HIV gets a second strain of the virus, usually through unprotected sex or sharing needles.
  62. Don’t assume you’re immune if you’ve had an STD before: You can get the same STD again if you have unprotected sex with someone who has it.
  63. Avoid getting another STD if you already have one: Having an STD can make you more susceptible to getting another one.
  64. Be aware that some STDs can be transmitted through kissing: Diseases like herpes can be transmitted this way.
  65. Get treated promptly if you think you have an STD: Some STDs can become serious if left untreated.
  66. Avoid sex if you or your partner are being treated for an STD: You should wait until the treatment is finished and the infection is cleared.
  67. Be aware that some STDs can be transmitted even if there are no symptoms: Diseases like HIV and herpes can be transmitted this way.
  68. Know your partner’s sexual history: If your partner has had an STD in the past, they may be more likely to get one again.
  69. Be aware that ‘pulling out’ does not prevent STDs: This method, also known as withdrawal, only reduces the risk of pregnancy, not STDs.
  70. Don’t assume you can’t get an STD if you’re in a same-sex relationship: Anyone can get an STD, regardless of their sexual orientation.
  71. Avoid touching your eyes after touching your genitals: Some STDs, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, can cause eye infections.
  72. Wash your hands regularly: This can help prevent the spread of certain STDs, like herpes.
  73. Avoid touching your partner’s genitals if you have cuts or sores on your hands: Some STDs can be transmitted this way.
  74. Don’t assume you can’t get an STD from oral sex: Many STDs can be transmitted through oral sex, including gonorrhea, syphilis, and herpes.
  75. Avoid sexual contact with animals: Certain diseases, like brucellosis, can be transmitted this way.
  76. Be aware that douching can increase the risk of STDs: Douching can upset the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina, which can increase the risk of STDs.
  77. Avoid anal sex immediately after vaginal sex: This can introduce bacteria into the rectum, increasing the risk of infection.
  78. Avoid vaginal sex immediately after anal sex: This can introduce bacteria into the vagina, increasing the risk of infection.
  79. Wear protective clothing if you work in a healthcare setting: Certain diseases, like hepatitis B and C, can be transmitted through accidental needlesticks or contact with infected blood.
  80. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of STDs: The sooner you recognize the symptoms, the sooner you can get treatment.
  81. Avoid sex if you or your partner are feeling unwell: Illness can weaken the immune system, increasing the risk of STDs.
  82. Use a condom or dental dam for oral-anal contact: This can help prevent the spread of certain STDs.
  83. Get tested for STDs regularly if you’re sexually active with multiple partners: The more partners you have, the higher your risk of getting an STD.
  84. Avoid sex with someone who has a rash, sores, blisters, or discharge: These could be signs of an STD.
  85. Be aware that some STDs can be transmitted through blood transfusions: In countries where blood isn’t screened for diseases, there’s a risk of getting diseases like HIV and syphilis.
  86. Don’t share personal items like toothbrushes or razors: Some diseases, like hepatitis B and C, can be transmitted this way.
  87. Avoid sex if you or your partner have diarrhea: Certain diseases, like shigella, can be transmitted through sexual contact if one partner has diarrhea.
  88. Use a new condom every time you switch between vaginal, oral, and anal sex: This can help prevent the spread of bacteria between different areas.
  89. Be aware that you can get an STD from a partner who has only had one previous partner: It only takes one infected person to transmit an STD.
  90. Be aware that some STDs, like HPV and herpes, can be spread through skin-to-skin contact: This can happen even if there’s no penetration, orgasm, or ejaculation.
  91. Avoid sex with a partner who refuses to use protection: This could put you at risk of getting an STD.
  92. Get vaccinated for diseases like meningitis if you’re in a high-risk group: Certain diseases that can be sexually transmitted, like meningitis, are more common in certain groups, like college students.
  93. Avoid using oil-based lubricants with latex condoms: These can weaken the condom, making it more likely to break.
  94. Avoid sex if you or your partner have a urinary tract infection (UTI): While UTIs are not sexually transmitted, the discomfort associated with a UTI might increase the chances of getting an STD.
  95. Avoid having sex in water: Water can wash away lubrication, leading to condom breakage.
  96. Teach adolescents about safe sex: Early sexual education can help them make informed decisions and protect themselves from STDs.
  97. Use protective barriers like finger cots or gloves when performing sexual activities that might cause bleeding: This includes activities like fisting or any form of sexual contact that might cause cuts or sores.
  98. Get regular screenings for cervical cancer if you’re a woman over 30: High-risk strains of HPV, an STD, can cause cervical cancer.
  99. Understand the risks associated with new sexual practices: As new trends emerge, it’s important to understand the associated STD risks.
  100. Support and advocate for public health initiatives: This includes policies that increase access to sexual education, STD testing, and vaccinations.

FAQs about ways to prevent STDs

Here are the answers to some of the most asked questions about the ways to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

What are some ways to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?

The most reliable ways to prevent STDs include practicing safe sex, maintaining a monogamous relationship with a tested partner, regular testing for STDs, and getting vaccinated for certain diseases like HPV and Hepatitis B. Use barrier methods such as condoms and dental dams during any sexual contact to reduce the risk.

Does using a condom guarantee protection against STDs?

While condoms significantly reduce the risk of STDs, they do not offer 100% protection. They are highly effective at preventing diseases transmitted through bodily fluids like HIV and gonorrhea, but less effective at preventing those transmitted through skin-to-skin contact like herpes or HPV. However, using a condom for all sexual activity is still strongly advised.

Can vaccination prevent all types of STDs?

Currently, vaccinations are available for some STDs such as Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Hepatitis A and B, but not all.

It is essential to get vaccinated for these diseases if you are eligible, but keep in mind that you must still practice safe sex and get regular testing to protect against other STDs.

Can regular testing prevent STDs?

Regular testing can’t prevent STDs directly, but it plays a crucial role in STD prevention by helping identify and treat infections early.

This can prevent the further spread of diseases. If you are sexually active, especially with multiple partners, regular testing is very important.

Are there specific behaviors that increase the risk of contracting STDs?

Yes, certain behaviors can increase your risk. These include having sex without a condom, having multiple sex partners, having sex while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (which can impair judgment), or having sex with someone who has not been tested for STDs. It’s important to engage in discussions about sexual health and testing with any potential partners.

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