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Safe sex

To avoid the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) either to yourself or others it is best to practice safe sex.

Safe sex includes using a condom or dental dam to ensure that you do not pass an infection on to your partner. It is also more likely that you have contact with someone with an STI if you have multiple sexual partners, but a monogamous relationship without barrier methods to reduce the risk of catching an STI will put you at risk too.

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.

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).

Last reviewed: July 2015

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