If you are looking forward to your summer trip with the boys – whether this is an annual event or your first time – it is important to know what to do to keep yourself safe if you have sex with new people. You know to pack condoms with the kitemark, but what else can you do to help prevent an STI?
Sun and sand are well-known combinations with sex. Having sex with lots of new people (or just the one special person) is a time trodden ritual. Don’t forget the people you have sex with are likely to be doing the same thing. That means that there are a lot of people who you and your partners and their partners have had sex with. Condoms offer some protection against STIs, HIV and pregnancy, but they are not 100%. The only way to know if you have an STI is to get tested.
Being with friends on holiday helps to bolster your confidence, and this can lead to getting into bed with new people. Always make sure someone knows where you are, and make sure your phone is charged before you go out. This will help you to find your way back to your friends. Take condoms with you, make sure they are kite marked and insist on using them. Overseas, especially outside the EU, local brands may not be subject to the same safety checks. If you use a condom, you want it to work. Condoms also protect against unwanted pregnancy. If you are not ready to become a father, use a condom.
Condoms do not offer protection against all STIs: Syphilis, Herpes, and Genital Warts can be passed on through skin-to-skin contact. So even if you are just bumping and grinding against your partner, you could pass something on or contract it.
Holiday sex can also mean oral sex. Oral sex can pass on Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis and Herpes. If you are not using a dental dam, you are at risk of these infections.
If you have had holiday sex, Better2Know suggests you book our Full STI Screen testing for HIV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Hepatitis B, Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma. You may also want to add on Herpes. You can book online or phone us on the number above.
If you do test positive for an infection, most STIs are easily treated. Your doctor will be able to help you to get the right medication and follow up treatment for you. Some STIs including HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C require referral to a specialist. Gonorrhoea and Mycoplasma are increasingly resistant to antibiotics and medical advice is recommended if you catch one of these infections.
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