By John Lim, Huckleberry Peer Youth Peer Educator
What can you do to defend yourself against STD’s? Anyone from any background can encounter a STD, but there are weapons in your arsenal to defend yourself against them...including:
- Internal/ External condoms (also a form of birth control!)
- Dental dams
- Finger Cots
- Getting tested regularly
The most effective way to combat STDs is to not engage in any sexual activities at all, also known as “abstinence”. Not engaging in any sexual activity allows you to avoid STDs altogether. However, being abstinent is unrealistic for a lot of people, so there are still ways to protect yourself if you choose to have sex.
The external condom and the internal condom can protect you from STD’s. External condoms can be used by males to put on to their penises and the internal condoms can be put inside the anus or the vagina.
Dental dams are to be put on top of the area you are performing oral sex. But on the other hand, (no pun intended) finger cots and gloves can be used during digital sex (aka fingering). Be sure to put on all of these barriers correctly!
Getting tested for STDs regularly (just how often depends on several factors including how many partners you have and your age) is really important, especially since most STDs have show no symptoms at all so you won't know you have one unless you get tested. You can find a clinic near you here.
Communication is a big part of a healthy relationship AND maintaining your health. Talking with your sexual partner before having sex, including being honest about how many partners you've had and when the last time you got tested was, can prevent the spread of STDs.
The Huckleberry Youth Program, Peer Health Educators (PHE's), are community health educators who work with other young people. The PHE's are committed to decreasing high-risk behavior among youth and empowering youth to make healthy choices in their lives. The PHE's (strive to) do this by: creating safe and friendly spaces for youth to come to for support, educating their peers and increasing youth’s knowledge of health issues, increasing awareness, providing resources to youth and serving as a resource when needed and creating opportunities for youth to work toward self-sufficiency. PHE's go into the high schools and educate teens on topics like birth control, healthy relationships, STI's and condom use. They are a terrific resource to their peers and the greater Bay Area community.