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Safer Sex

The only way to completely prevent an STI is by abstaining from sexual activity. If you choose to practice abstinence, make sure that you and your partner agree on its definition. Abstinence is only effective if you are greatly limiting your sexual contact [e.g. not engaging in any type of intercourse whether it be oral, anal, or vaginal]. 

To prevent STIs while sexually active, make sure to correctly wear an internal condom, external condom or dental dam EVERY TIME you have sex. With each new sexual activity, remember to obtain a new and unused condom or dental dam. To help keep condoms from breaking, use either a water-based or silicone-based lubricant. 

Remember to get tested annually, or after every new sexual partner/partners. Having fewer partners can decrease your risk of contracting an STI. The most common symptom of an STI is no symptoms, so you cannot tell that someone has one by looking at them. Even if you or your partner do not display any symptoms of an STI, each person should get tested so they’re able to know their status.  

While using methods like the birth control pill, shot, ring, patch, IUD, and implant help prevent pregnancy, they do not prevent STI transmission. If unintended pregnancy is a concern while engaging in sexual activity, make sure that you pair each of those methods with an internal or external condom or dental dam. Combining methods works to decrease chances of pregnancy and/or getting an STI.

There are two STIs, Hepatitis B and HPV, that currently have vaccines for prevention. Speak with your doctor about your immunization history and see if these vaccinations are available and recommended for you. 

Becoming more familiar with your own body and STI symptoms can help you understand what feels normal for you. It’s important to familiarize yourself with your own body and how it functions. That way, when something is out of the ordinary, you can spot it and get it handled. Be sure to have regular checkups with your doctor and discuss any uncertainties or concerns you might be feeling. 

Engaging in sexual activity while you, your partner(s), or all parties involved are intoxicated can increase the likelihood that someone forgets to use, or improperly uses a condom or dental dam. This can increase your risk of contracting an STI. Make sure to clearly and openly communicate with your partner(s) while all parties involved are sober. Alcohol and drug usage can also muddy the waters of consent. Any time substances are introduced to a situation, risk also increases. The safest practice is to engage in sexual activity while sober.

The only way to know for sure if you’ve contracted an STI is to get tested!

Where can I get tested in Morgantown?

Students can make an appointment for STI testing at the following locations:

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