Safe sex means taking steps before and during sex that can prevent you from getting an infection, or from giving an infection to your partner. A sexually transmitted infection STI is an infection that can be spread to another person through sexual contact. STIs include:. These infections are spread by direct contact with a sore on the genitals or mouth, body fluids, or sometimes the skin around the genital area. Your sexual partner should be someone who you know does not have any STI. Before having sex with a new partner, each of you should get screened for STIs and share the test results with each other.
Safe sex is sexual activity using methods or devices such as condoms to reduce the risk of transmitting or acquiring sexually transmitted infections STIs , especially HIV. It is also sometimes used colloquially to describe methods aimed at preventing pregnancy that may or may not also lower STI risks. Promoting safe sex is now one of the main aims of sex education and STI prevention, especially reducing new HIV infections. Safe sex is regarded as a harm reduction strategy aimed at reducing the risk of STI transmission.
This includes touching, since some STDs can be spread from skin-to-skin contact. In general, STDs are highly preventable. However, a large number of those infections could be avoided if people made different decisions about their sexual health. The only guaranteed method to prevent STDs is to abstain from all sexual contact. When engaging in sexual activity, there are steps people can take to limit their risk of STDs.
The only safe sex is no sex, according to most healthcare providers. Abstinence may be the only true form of "safe" sex. All forms of sexual contact carry some risk. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents start talking to children about their bodies and sex, at an age-appropriate level, when they first ask where babies come from. Although many teens may say they know everything about sex, studies have found that many are not completely informed about sex and sexually transmitted infections STIs.