Using condoms for all types of penetrative sex can significantly reduce the risk of contracting and passing on STI’s like HIV. But, be aware of STIs like herpes or HPV that can be passed on through skin-to-skin contact. You can reduce the risk of contracting some STIs through vaccination.
Not all STIs show symptoms, so keep on top of your health and prevent the spread of STIs by getting tested regularly. Think about being tested for STIs before having sex with someone new, and advise that they also get tested.
Communication is everything: Before you get physically intimate with a partner, talk about sexual health and STI testing. Plan on how you will protect yourself and sexual partners from infections when under the influence of alcohol or other recreational drugs. And be aware — in some places, it’s actually a crime to knowingly pass on an STI.