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STD Center 
STD Facts 
Test yourself 

Skin A to Z 


Questions about prevention

1.  Can I take antibiotics before sex to prevent STD

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 their owm.

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 infection.

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 himself.