STD Awareness Month - Keep Yourself Healthy

Photo of a group of college girls

Stay healthy: There’s a lot you can do to protect your health and prevent future STDs.

You can take care of yourself and your partner(s) by getting tested before you start having sex. Since many STDs show no symptoms, you or your partner may have an STD from a previous relationship and not know it.
Talk about when you were last tested and suggest getting tested together. If you have an STD (like herpes or HPV), tell your partner. These conversations may seem hard to have, but open communication with your partner is essential to staying healthy and stopping the spread of STDs. They may also bring you closer together.

Getting tested and knowing your status shows you care about yourself and your partner. Surveys of U.S. teens and young adults show that people who get tested for STDs are seen as responsible partners and as taking care of themselves.

One survey found that 81% of youth reported thinking that people who get tested are taking care of their sexual health; 58% said they’re responsible partners; and 56% said they should do it regularly as part of their routine health care.
Talking about getting tested doesn’t have to be hard or uncomfortable. You can start with something like, “I’m a little nervous to bring this up… but I want us to be healthy and I think it’s important. What do you think about getting tested for STDs together?” You may be surprised at how your partner reacts.
One survey found that most young people said they would be glad it was suggested (78%) and that it reflects their partner being responsible (89%).
Another found that almost 60% of young people said they’d think their partner was being responsible (58%), careful (61%) and/or smart (57%).

HIV is treatable and can be managed. HIV-positive individuals can live longer, healthier lives if they know their status, get into care and stick with treatment.  

The average age of first sexual intercourse in the U.S. is 18 – so if you’re not sure if you’re ready to have sex, you’re in good company. It can be helpful to talk with someone you trust — a parent, a friend, or a health care provider – about becoming sexually active and staying safe.

Using condoms consistently and correctly provide excellent protection against STDs. They are highly effective in reducing the chance of getting many STDs, including HIV.

Using condoms can actually enhance your sex life. It’s true: people who use condoms rate their sexual experiences as just as pleasurable as people who don’t.

Everyone’s doing it: more people are using condoms for protection today than ever before. Most (80%) men use them the first time they have sex, starting a good habit for a healthy sex life.

Using a condom can take a lot of the worry out of sex, since you and your partner won’t be worrying about pregnancy or STDs. It’s a good way to feel more relaxed about sex.

Not all lubes are created equal: be sure to use water-based lubes with your condoms. Oil-based products like baby oil and hand lotion can weaken latex and cause condoms to break.

Everyone deserves a sex life that is safe and healthy as well as pleasurable/fun. Getting comfortable talking about STD testing and using condoms is a good way to take care of your health and your partner’s – and to make sex more enjoyable.