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Safe sex
November 19 , 2013

Safe sex, also called protected sex means taking steps before and during sex that can prevent you from getting an infection, or from giving one to your partner. Practicing safer sex doesn’t mean eliminating sex from your life. It includes methods of contraception to reduce the risk of unplanned pregnancies and engaged in by people who have taken precautions to protect themselves against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV/AIDS. The term sexually transmitted infections (STIs) has gradually become preferred over STDs, as it has a broader range of meaning; a person may be infected, and may potentially infect others, without showing signs of disease. Safer sex means reducing the chance of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases, which includes  infections such as Chlamydia, Genital herpes, Genital warts, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis, Syphilis, HIV. Although some safe sex practices can be used as contraception, most forms of contraception do not protect against all or any STIs; likewise, some safe sex practices, like partner selection and low risk sex behavior, are not effective forms of contraception. Safe sex is effective in avoiding STIs only if both parties involved in sexual intercourse agree on it and stick to it. During sexual intercourse using a condom, for example, the male could intentionally pull off the condom and continue penetrating without the female (or male receptive) partner’s consent and notice. This is a high-risk behavior that betrays trust as well as spreading disease.

Methods of safe sex

• Non penetrative sex:  These are sexual practices such as kissing, mutual masturbation, rubbing or stroking. According to the Health Department of Western Australia, this sexual practice may prevent pregnancy and most STIs. However, non-penetrative sex may not protect against infections that can be transmitted skin-to-skin such as herpes and genital warts.

• Abstinence: Until you and your partner are both prepared physically and emotionally to have sex, do not engage in it.

• Limit your sex partners: The safest sex is with one partner who has sex only with you. Every time you add a new sex partner, you are being exposed to all of the diseases that all of their partners may have.

• Sexual history: The sexual history of your partner is also very important, to know if he or she has previously had an STI including hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. You will also want to know whether that STI was treated and cured. Ask a potential sex partner to be tested for HIV and other STIs.

• Coitus interruptus (or "pulling out"), in which the penis is removed from the vagina, anus, or mouth before ejaculation, is not safe sex and can result in STI transmission. This is because of the formation of pre-ejaculate, may contain pathogens such as HIV. This method is not also safe for unplanned pregnancy.

• Barrier protection: Various protective devices are used to avoid contact with body fluids like blood, vaginal fluid, semen or other contaminant agents (like skin, hair and shared objects) during sexual activity. Use of water-based lubricant such as K-Y Jelly or Astroglide, helps prevent tearing of the skin if there is a lack of lubrication during sexual intercourse. Small tears in the vagina during vaginal sex or in the rectum during anal sex allow STIs to get into the blood.

- Condoms for both males and females can be used. It is usually made of latex. Latex and polyurethane condoms do not let the viruses that cause STIs pass through, so they offer good protection from STIs. When latex barriers are used, oil-based lubrication can break down the structure of the latex and remove the protection it provides. Female condoms are inserted into the vagina prior to intercourse. If two condoms are used simultaneously (male condom on top of male condom, or male condom inside female condom), this increases the chance of condom failure.

- A dental dam (originally used in dentistry) a sheet of latex can also be used for protection when engaging in oral sex. It is typically used as a barrier between the mouth and the vulva during cunnilingus or between the mouth and the anus during anal–oral sex.

- Medical gloves may be used to protect the hands which may have cuts on them that may admit pathogens. Another way to protect against pathogen transmission is the use of protected or properly cleaned dildos and other sex toys. If a sex toy is to be used in more than one orifice or partner, a condom can be used over it and changed when the toy is moved.

- spermicides can also be used. simultaneously using both the male condom and spermicide (applied separately, not pre-lubricated) reduces the risk of pregnancy.

- Staying sober: Alcohol and drugs impair’s judgment. When you are not sober, you might not choose your partner as carefully. You may also forget to use condoms, or use them incorrectly.

• Methods of Contraception: These are methods used to prevent unplanned pregnancy. They include:

 Abstinence

 Norplant

 Depro-Provera

 Intrauterine device, or coil

 Condoms

 Spermicidal Methods

 The Morning After Pill: This is most effective when uses within 72hrs after unprotected sex, but it may still be effective up to 120hrs (5days). It contains Levonorgestrel (brand names include Plan B, NorLevo, Postinor).


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