Updated Dec. 8, 2008 – If you are sexually active, there are a few things you should keep in mind to keep safe and healthy. Here are eight sexual health tips from our experts.
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1) Know your sexual health status and the status of your partner – Don’t just take for granted that if a person looks good that he or she is safe. Ask whether he or she has gotten an HIV test, or have any other issues you should know about. Also, get tested yourself.
2) Don’t mix drugs or alcohol with sex – Substance abuse or intake can cloud your judgment and make you do things you’ll later regret. Also, consider whether your partner has been drinking or drugging in excess. That also can put you in a dangerously compromising position.
3) If you have questions about sex, ask someone know knows – Don’t go to your peers for sexual advice. Talk to your parents, and if you’re not comfortable with that, consult a medical expert, counselor or adult you trust.
4) Liking someone doesn’t mean you have to have sex with him or her.
5) Monogamy is best – Don’t sleep around. The best way to keep safe is to chose one partner and stick with him or her.
6) ALWAYS use a condom when you have sex. No matter if you use a diaphragm or are on the pill, use a condom EVERY time you have sex to protect yourself from the most deadly sexually transmitted disease, AIDS.
7) Use condoms correctly – Incorrect condom use and slip up can lead to sexually transmitted disease transmission and unwanted pregnancies. To see a demonstration on the correct way to use a condom, go here.
8) If you get infected with an STD, follow the treatment completely – Don't skimp on the meds. Use all the medicine prescribed even if you no longer see any signs of the disease or are experiencing any symptoms. That's the best way to protect you and your partner. For more on STDs, get an STDs Fact Sheet from the American Social Health Association.