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Protecting Yourself from STD's

Posted Dec 02 2008 7:15pm

- Know that some methods of birth control,
such as birth control pills, shots, implants,
or diaphragms, will not protect you from
HIV or other STDs. If you use one of these
methods, be sure to also use a latex
condom or dental dam (used for oral sex)
correctly every time you have sex.

- Don’t share needles or IV (intravenous)
drug equipment for illegal drugs such as
heroin and cocaine, or for legal drugs such
as insulin. If you get a tattoo or body piercing,
make sure the needles are sterile.

- Talk with your sex partner(s) about STDs,
HIV, and using condoms. It’s up to you to
make sure you are protected. Remember,
it’s YOUR body! For more information, call
the National STD hotline at 1-800-227-

- Talk frankly with your doctor or nurse and
your sex partner(s) about any STDs you or
your partner have or have had. Talk about
any sores or discharge in the genital area.
Try not to be embarrassed. Being honest
could save your life. If you are living with
HIV, be sure to tell your partner and your

- Have regular pelvic exams. Talk with your
doctor about how often you need them.
Many tests for STDs can be done during an
exam. Ask your doctor to test you for STDs.
The sooner an STD is found, the easier it is
to treat.

- If you are pregnant, get screened for chlamydia,
gonorrhea, hepatitis B and C, HIV,
and syphilis. Get screened as soon as you
think you may be pregnant. The longer you
wait, the more harm you may be doing to
your baby.

- If you have HIV and are pregnant, you can
lower the chances of giving HIV to your
baby by taking medicine. Talk with your
doctor about your options.

- Don’t douche. Douching removes some
of the normal bacteria in the vagina that
protects you from infection. It can raise your
risk of getting HIV and some other STDs.

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