Every year more than 18 million new cases of STDs occur. Anyone having sexual activity can acquire a sexually transmitted disease. HIV is spread by infected blood products, having sex, sharing needles and IV drug use.
- In the United States, one in four teens will be diagnosed with an STD this year and more than half of all people will be diagnosed with an STD in their lifetime.
- Left untreated, STDs can cause infertility, cancer, blindness and even death.
- Fortunately, STDs are preventable and there are a number of ways to avoid them.
How to Prevent STDs
- Abstinence or waiting
- The simplest way of preventing STDs is by not having sex. For many people abstinence is not a permanent solution, so a more accurate term might be waiting.
- Many people decide to wait or delay sex until conditions are right for them.
- Some people wait until they meet the right person, until they know their partner better, or until marriage.
- Whatever the reason, a person who is not having sex is not at risk for an STD.
- Safer sex
- Only have sex with one uninfected partner who has only had safe sex with you.
- Talk to your partner about STDs. Find out if he/she has been tested or exposed to an STD. Discuss previous sexual activities and any injection drug use or shared needles. Talk openly about your history as well.
- Be sure to use them every time you have sex.
- Male latex condoms can reduce the risk of getting an STI if used correctly. Female condoms can also be used as an alternative to a male condom.
Vaccines for STDs
Some STDs, such as Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause genital warts and cervical cancer, can be prevented through the use of vaccines. We offer these vaccines at Denver Public Health in the STD Clinic as well as in the Immunization Clinic.