How can I avoid getting a sexually transmitted disease or sexually transmitted infection (STD/STI)?

The most reliable ways to avoid STDs/STIs are to abstain from sexual contact or to be in a long-term monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is uninfected.1 In addition, the following measures can also help you avoid STDs/STIs:

  • Know your sexual partner's STD/STI and health history.
  • Talk to your health care provider about your risk, and get tested for STDs/STIs.
  • Get vaccinated against hepatitis A virus (HAV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • Use latex condoms correctly and consistently.

Remember, however, that while condoms greatly reduce the chance of getting certain STDs/STIs, such as gonorrhea, condoms cannot fully protect against infection because viruses and some bacteria can be passed from person to person by skin-to-skin contact in the genital area not covered by a condom.2


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010, September 1). Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs): Genital herpes. Retrieved June 6, 2012, from
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011, July 21). Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs): STDs & infertility. Retrieved June 6, 2012, from

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