Who is at risk?
Anyone who is sexually active is at risk of getting an STI. You can catch an STI whether you are young, old, gay, straight, bisexual, a lesbian, male, female or transgender...
It doesn’t matter if you’ve only had one sexual partner or if you have been with twenty different people - if you have had sex, especially without a condom, you may have an STI.
However, the more people who you have unprotected sex with, the more likely you are to come into contact with an infection.
So, it is even more important to practice safe sex when you have multiple partners, and to be tested between partners to make sure that you are in the clear.
How are STIs passed on?
Many people believe that STIs can only be passed on through penetrative vaginal or anal intercourse, but this is not true. Some STIs can also be passed on through oral sex, joint masturbation (when you share fluids using your fingers), and toy sharing (when you pass toys from your genital area to another person’s).
In essence, you can catch or pass on an STI anytime that your bodily fluid comes into contact with another person’s. Using condoms and other barrier methods for all types of sexual activity greatly reduces the risk of passing on STIs.
Skin contact alone can be enough to pass on the genital wart virus or herpes, as well as sexual infestations such as crabs, pubic lice, and scabies.
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