A: Suggest that you go get tested together. Set aside some time one evening to go to a clinic as a couple. Remember, this isn’t just about your health—it’s about your partner’s health, too. Mention that when you bring up the possibility of getting tested. As a side note: if your partner is outright hostile to idea of an STD screening, that should be a major red flag for you.
A: Diaphragms are much cheaper, clocking in at around $75, to an IUD’s $1,300. But IUDs (Intrauterine Devices, in plain English) are far more effective at preventing pregnancies: how effective, you might be asking? 99% effective. But remember, the only thing that’s going to protect you from an STD is a condom. So be sure to use both barrier methods in combination with one another.
A: First, breathe. The good news is that many STIs are treatable with antibiotics and other medications. If you’ve noticed symptoms, or if you’ve gotten a test that confirmed what you thought to be true, then talk to your parents, your doctor, or a healthcare provider at your local clinic about next steps—this will usually involve prescription medication.
A: There are some STIs, like genital warts, that are spread by skin touching skin. That means you can get them even if you’re using a condom. The only sure way to know if you have an STI is by getting tested by a health care provider.
A: There are a couple of different ways. Some, like gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and HIV/AIDS, are spread through bodily fluids, including vaginal secretions, semen, or blood. Others, like herpes or genital warts can be spread through skin-on-skin contact with an infected sore.
Using a latex condom every single time you have sex will help protect you and your partner from STDs and STIs. And if you are sexually active, don’t forget to get tested often!
A: Definitely not! Getting tested is a great idea for both of you—even if you plan on using condoms. Before they have a chance to flip out, talk with him or her about why you want the tests. Since you can get an STI from skin-to-skin-contact, vaginal fluid, and pre-cum, that means you can get an STI even if you’ve never had sex.
A: Even if you don’t have symptoms now, an STI can give you problems when you’re older, like a lot of pain in your pelvis or you might not be able to have a baby when you’re ready. Did you know that most people with HIV don’t have any symptoms until 10 years after they got the infection? You can pass on an STI and even though you don’t have symptoms, your partner might. The best thing to do if you think you have an STI is to go to your doctor.