Preventing an STI
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are passed from one person to another through unprotected sex or genital, oral or anal contact. Anyone who has sex can get an STI, you don’t need to have lots of sexual partners. Both men and women can get and pass on STIs.
Using a condom when you have sex is the best way to avoid catching an STI, however here are a number of things you can do to help prevent the risk of exposure to infections.
- Talking with your partner(s) about STIs, sexual health and contraception use before having sex.
- Getting tested, along with your partner before sexual activity. Many STIs have no symptoms at all so it’s safer to get tested.
- Avoiding sex when under the influence of alcohol or drugs as this can reduce your ability to make good decisions.
- Some clinicians may recommend that you have a vaccine against Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Hepatitis B (Hep B).
Condoms work really well in stopping most STIs from being passed from an infected partner to another. Although they are not 100% guaranteed, when used properly condoms are extremely effective. Use a condom every time you have vaginal, anal or oral sex.
Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP or PEPSE) is medication to help reduce HIV transmission after the virus has entered the body. It is a course of drugs that is taken after sex where there has been a higher risk of exposure.
If you are concerned you might have been exposed to HIV (had unprotected sex with someone whose HIV status you do not know, or know to be positive, or shared injecting equipment), you may be eligible for PEP. Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP or PEPSE) is medication you can take to help reduce the chance of HIV transmission. It is a course of medication that is taken after unprotected sex where there has been a higher risk of exposure. PEP or PEPSE should be taken as soon as possible after sex, and definitely within 72 hours. The earlier it is started the more likely it is to work. You will need to have an assessment with a doctor or nurse before you are prescribed this medication.
In hours, attend one of our clinics or after hours attend your nearest A&E department.
If you are worried that you have been exposed to HIV you should attend one of our clinics, or an Accident and Emergency department straight away.
PrEP: For information about PrEP, visit the iwantprepnow website.
Did You Know?
If you change or have changed your sexual partner regularly we recommend you should repeat your HIV test regularly as well.
If you change your sexual partner every 6 to 12 months we suggest a full health screen, we would also advise screening if you are having multiple sexual partners too.