What if I told you there was a foolproof method of preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other diseases? It’s 100% effective, completely safe and even free of charge? Yes, you’ve guessed it: abstinence from sexual activity with other people is indeed the safest form of protection.
Sexual activity is not confined to sexual intercourse. There are different types of sexual activity, each corresponding to different levels of risk for STIs. One simple way to reduce your risk of getting an STI is to use condoms. It is also very important to talk about your own and your partner’s sexual history, and get yourself tested for STIs regularly. If you think you might have an STI, refer to the article on “Sexual Health Screening”.
THE PREGNANCY RUSSIAN ROULETTE
Have you ever been caught with your pants down, with nothing in between the both of you except hot rushing blood and hormones in overdrive? In a guy-girl couple, one claims, “It’s my safe day,” and the other claims, “I’ll pull out before I ejaculate.” But when the pregnancy test comes back positive, both claim, “I don’t know how it happened!”
IS IT EVER SAFE NOT TO USE CONDOMS?
Almost never. Even though it might seem a hassle to have to use condoms, it is one of the best ways to prevent STIs.
You might think it is safe to not use a condom if you and your sexual partner
are sexually monogamous and have both tested negative for STIs and HIV. Or you might think that you are not at risk because of the people you have sex with. However, STIs exist in all parts of the sexually-active population. Further, in STI tests they almost never test specifically for herpes, HPV,
or syphilis, and some infections can lay dormant for years. Also, in HIV testing, there is a three-month window of time between
HIV infection and production of antibodies. So if you engaged in risky behaviour a week ago and get tested for HIV today, you may not get an accurate result because your body has not had enough time to produce HIV antibodies to get an accurate result. Finally, STI tests also don’t include Hepatitis B, which is another infection that may be transmitted sexually.
Never be pressured by your partner to forgo the use of protection. Which would you prefer: spending $4 for a pack of 3 condoms or to spend months living in uncertainty or years managing conditions such as herpes or HIV?
LEVEL OF RISK IN DIFFERENT SEXUAL ACTIVITIES
|CUT THE RISK||WHAT YOU CAN GET|
|NO RISK||Masturbation, fantasising, hugging||–||–|
|VERY LOW RISK||French kissing||Not making out with people who are sick
Checking your partner’s mouth for blisters
|LOW RISK||Mutual masturbation||Using a condom or gloves||Viral infections|
|HIGH RISK||Oral, vaginal and anal sex||
Using a condom or other relevant barriers (gloves, dental dams)
Getting vaccinated (Hepatitis A, B and C, HPV)
Talking about sexual history & getting tested regularly
Viral & bacterial infections, pubic lice, pelvic inflammatory disease
REDUCED RISK OF PREGNANCY
REDUCED RISK OF STIs
Wearing a condom: 4 Easy Steps
Pinch the tip of the condom to ensure you have it the correct way up and that you have left space at the tip of the penis for ejaculate.
Place the condom over the erect penis.
Unroll the condom while continuing to pinch the tip. This ensures you have space at the tip of the penis.
Fully unroll the condom down the shaft of the penis. Remember to hold the rim of the condom when withdrawing after ejaculation.
|Correct Condom Usage||Top Ten Condom Mistakes|
|1. Get one in the right size||1. Late application|
|2. Check for expiry or damage||2. Premature removal|
|3. Put on before any penile-vaginal penetration||3. Unrolling before putting it on|
|4. Put on with clean hands||4. Not leaving space at the top|
|5. Unwrap it carefully||5. Failing to remove|
|6. Unroll a little to ensure it's the right way around||6. Not rolling down the whole way|
|7. Leave space for semen||7. Exposure to sharp objects|
|8. Apply enough lube on the unrolled condom, but not too much before unrolling||8. No/wrong lubrication|
|9. Remove carefully upon withdrawal by holding the rim at the base of the penis||9. Condoms in the wrong size|
|10. Inside-out: putting it on the wrong way and then trying again with the same condom. This is unsafe because fluids would have collected outside the condom|