Abstinence, or not having sex, is always the safest way to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) and unwanted pregnancies, but is not always realistic. Once two or more people (yes group sex does happen) engage in sexual practices the potential for transmitting a disease is always a possibility. Here are some tips to protect you if and when you decide to have sex.
1. Discuss sex openly with your partner: An open discussion between you and your sex partner can not only alleviate fears about having sex, but also provide you with information to help you decide it this is the right person with for you. A dishonest person or one who is not willing to discuss his/her risk factors with you (like IV drug abuse, multiple sex partners, not knowing their HIV status, or history of previous STI’s) could be putting you at risk for a disease which cannot be treated and could kill you. So talk!
2. Know your status: There are over 200,000 people in the United States who are HIV positive and do not know their status. If you don’t know your status, get tested! Spreading HIV to a person you love or care about is devastating to both parties.
3. Oral sex is not safe sex: The myth that oral sex is safe sex must be dispelled. When performing oral sex blood and bodily fluids are transmitted and the risk of getting HIV, gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and herpes is very possible. Use dental dams and condoms to prevent the transmission of blood and bodily fluids.
4. Sex under the influence of drugs like alcohol and marijuana increases your chance of getting an STI: Using drugs lowers our inhibitions and often leads to poor decision making and risky behavior. Many people blame alcohol for unwanted pregnancy and STI’s. Never drink or use other drugs when having casual sex. The consequences could not only be permanent (unwanted pregnancy, HPV, or herpes), but deadly- HIV.
5. Using two condoms is not a safe practice: There have been no medical studies that prove that wearing two condoms are safer than wearing one. Although wearing two may reduce male stimulation and premature ejaculation, it may increase the friction between the two condoms causing them to break down and expose both individuals to bodily fluids that may be contaminated with STI’s. Learn the proper use of one condom.
Get more safe sex tips at BET's Rap it Up site.
Dr. Rani Whitfield is a board certified Family Practice and Sports Medicine Physician practicing in Baton Rouge, LA. He is known as Tha Hip Hop Doc as he uses music and medicine to educate the community on health issues. Check him out at www.h2doc.com.