Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention
There are a number of ways to protect yourself and your partner from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
- The best way to prevent STDs is by not having sex (abstinence) or waiting to have sex. If you have sex, use a latex condom correctly each time. You can also use other barriers like polyurethane (plastic) condoms, female condoms, or dental dams. Birth control methods like the pill, depo provera, or diaphragms DO NOT protect against STDs.
- Talk to your partner(s) about safer sex before having sex. Try to select a setting that is neutral and non-sexual. Discuss your sexual histories including past sex partners and STDs.
- Before you have sex, check yourself and your partner for any signs of STDs, such as discharge, sores, or bumps in the genital areas. If you notice any signs, do not have sex. Go to a doctor or a clinic to get tested. Keep in mind, however, the many STDs do not show any signs or symptoms.
- Limit your number of sex partners. The more people you have sex with, the greater your chances of getting an STD. A monogamous relationship — where you and your partner only have sex with each another — is safest.
- Go to a clinic for an STD checkup every six months if you change partners, have more than one partner, or if you think your partner may be having sex with anyone else.
- Get vaccinated. Vaccines are available for
HPV, hepatitis A and B. Talk to your doctor or go to a
clinic to find out if these vaccines are suitable for
you. For more information on where to get hepatitis
vaccine in LA County go to
For more information about HPV vaccine, visit www.cdc.gov/hpv/vaccine.html.
- If you have an STD, make sure both you and your partner(s) get treated. Do not have sex again until both you and your partner(s) complete treatment.
- Do not share needles for tattooing, body piercing, and injecting drugs/hormones. If you do share, learn how to clean them properly. Ask your sex partner(s) about any past needle use.
- If you are pregnant, seek pre-natal care early. Early detection and treatment of STDs is important to prevent transmission or development of complications in your baby.
For information on free and low cost STD testing and treatment services in Los Angeles County, call the STD Hotline at 1-800-758-0880 or visit our STD Testing & Services section.