Safer sex means preventing your partner’s body fluids (blood, semen, vaginal fluids) to enter your body and vice versa. This avoids HIV, other sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), and pregnancy.
Safe sex includes using a condom or dental dam to ensure that you do not pass an infection on to your partner. The best way of protecting yourself against STIs is to have fewer sexual partners.
A dental dam, which is a thin piece of latex, can also be used during oral sex to prevent the spread of infection. It can be placed over the genitals or anus (back passage) before giving oral sex. It creates a barrier that prevents bodily fluids being passed between people and reduces your risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection.
If you are using sex toys they should be washed thoroughly. Remember you can spread the infection if you are passing the object into the anus and vagina or sharing it.
If you suspect that you have a sexually transmitted infection you should avoid sexual intercourse or any sexual activity completely until advised by a sexual health clinic or your doctor. It’s very important to tell you current partners and any previous partners if you are diagnosed with an STI.
Everyone who is sexually active should have regular check-ups with their doctor or sexual health clinic.
Not sure what to do next?
If you are still concerned about your safe sex, why not use healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.
The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).
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Last reviewed: November 2019