Questions about prevention
1. Can I take antibiotics before sex to prevent
This is known medically as pre-exposure prophylaxis (prevention).
It does not work because as explained earlier, there is no single drug
that can prevent all STD. The only effective prevention against
contracting STD during sex is to use a condom (Chapter 8).
2. Does the birth control pill prevent STD?
No, the pill only prevents pregnancy. Indeed some STD, such
as chlamydial infection and candidiasis may actually be more
common in women on the pill. Only barrier contraception
such as condoms can prevent the most STD (Question 36).
3. Do condoms prevent STD?
Condoms are not 100% protective but if used properly and consistently,
they can prevent the greatest number of STD. They have been shown
to be effective in preventing STD such as AIDS, gonorrhoea, nonspecific
urethritis (NSU) and chlamydial infection, Hepatitis B, syphilis
and genital herpes.
4. Do spermicides prevent STD?
The spermicide, nonoxynol-9 has been shown in the laboratory
to inactivate HIV, the syphilis and gonorrhoea bacteria and the
herpes virus. Spermicides containing nonoxynol-9 can be
used in combination with condoms to provide extra protection.
however, they are probably not effective enough to be used on
5. Does washing after sex help to prevent STD?
Theoretically, yes. Soap and water can inactivate or at least
wash away STD germs before they have had a chance to enter the
body. However, douching is not advisable. Some doctors feel
that douching upsets the normal vagina environment and makes
it easier for germs to establish themselves. Douching may also
push germs further up the vagina and increase the risk of
6. Does urinating after sex help prevent STD?
Urinating is useful in the male because the urine may help
flush away any STD germs that have not penetrated the lining
of the urethra (urine pipe). It is less useful in women
because infection ususally occurs inside the vagina and urine
does not flush this area.
7. Can I be vaccinated against STD?
The only STD vaccine currently available is against Hepatitis
B. Research is still on-going to develop vaccines against STD
but progress has been very slow and difficult. Medical prevention
by vaccination is therefore, not available for most STD. The
only prevention against STD lies in the hands of the individual