Safer sex is a way of reducing the chance of getting or passing on a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The risks of getting one of these STIs will be different depending on whom you have sex with and the type of sex you have.
You may find you need different safer sex options at different times of your life and many people find that a combination of different safer sex methods may be useful to protect their sexual health.
There are a number of ways you can have safer sex:
- Using condoms for penetrative sex
- Having non-penetrative sex (such as mutual masturbation)
- Reducing the number of different sexual partners you have
- Getting tested for STIs with new sexual partners and agreeing to only have sex with each other
- Getting vaccinated against STIs like Hepatitis B or the human papilloma virus (HPV).
- Taking PrEP treatment before sex to protect you from HIV (particularly if you are at high risk of HIV).
- Knowing how to get started on PEP treatment after sex to protect you from HIV (within 72 hours)
- If people living with HIV are on effective treatment, it also means they can’t pass on the virus to their partners. This is known as Undetectable = Untransmittable, or ‘U=U’