Following on from our last blog post, here are five more ways you can ensure your sexual health is protected.
1. Know Yourself
Take time to examine your body regularly so you know what is normal for you and can note any changes in appearance or smell. If you have any concerns at any point, talk to your healthcare adviser. Regular pelvic exams and smear tests are also important.
It is possible to be vaccinated against some STIs. Your healthcare provider will be able to talk you through these. Hepatitis B is one STI which can be vaccinated against.
3. Get Tested and Treated
If you have an STI or your partner has one, sex will remain very risky until this has been treated. All current partners should be tested and treated at the same time to prevent reinfection. If you live in London STI testing kits are available from https://www.checkurself.org.uk. If you have tested positive for an STI, extra care should be taken to avoid passing it on to anyone else. Talk to your healthcare provider about how long to wait after treatment before you can have sex again.
4. Be Informed
Never worry about asking questions. Although it can be embarrassing, being open and honest is all part of maintaining your sexual well-being. Before undergoing any treatments, always ensure you understand what the treatment is for, what you are taking and why. It is also important have a good idea about medication side effects and any follow-up treatments which will be required.
5. Regular Screenings
If you are a woman under 25 and sexually active, guidelines recommend screening for chlamydia once every 12 months. Chlamydia is a very common STI and can result in serious health issues if left untreated.
Remember that whatever your sexual preferences, it is always your choice. If at any point you do not feel comfortable with something, you don’t have to do it. Always respect a partner’s wishes, and never ignore your instincts if you do not feel ready for sex. Staying on top of your sexual health is not only important for your physical well-being but your mental well-being too. Above all else, talk to your partner, friends and healthcare providers to stay informed at all times.