- Use condoms consistently and correctly: Condoms are the most effective way to reduce the risk of STIs and unintended pregnancy. Make sure to use a new, properly stored condom every time you have sex, and follow the instructions for use.
- Use lubricant: Lubricant can help reduce the risk of condom breakage and make sex more comfortable. Water-based lubricants are safe to use with condoms, but oil-based lubricants can weaken the condom and increase the risk of breakage.
- Consider other forms of protection: In addition to condoms, there are other options for protecting against STIs and unintended pregnancy, such as the birth control pill, the patch, the ring, and the shot. Talk to a healthcare provider to determine which option is best for you.
- Get tested regularly: It’s important to get tested regularly for STIs, especially if you have multiple sexual partners. This can help you identify any infections you may have and get them treated.
- Practice open and honest communication: Talk openly and honestly with your partner(s) about STI testing and protection. It’s important to make informed decisions about sexual activity together.
By following these steps and using protection every time you have sex, you can greatly reduce your risk of STIs and unintended pregnancy.