Sexually transmitted infections and condom awareness
Did you know that using a condom every time you have sex, is the only way to protect yourself against HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?
With the focus on sexually transmitted infections and condom awareness in February, the Western Cape Government Department of Health wants to emphasise the importance of using condoms when having sex to protect yourself and your partner against STIs. Condoms are available for free at all clinics.
STIs are infections that are spread from one person to the other during unprotected sexual intercourse which can either be vaginal, anal or oral sex. It can also contribute to the transmission of HIV. Someone with a STI don’t always experience noticeable symptoms. However, the most common symptoms include:
- abnormal discharge from the vagina or penis;
- burning urine;
- genital ulcers/sores;
- painful sex; and
- lower abdominal pain.
If you had sex without a condom, you should go to your nearest clinic as soon as possible for a STI screening and appropriate treatment. Also ask your partner to go for a screening.
“I would like to encourage our young people to take responsibility when choosing to have sex by opting for safer sex by using contraceptives and condoms. Using protection not only prevents unwanted pregnancies, but it also prevent you from contracting diseases like HIV/Aids and STIs. We also encourage the youth to get tested for HIV/Aids and STIs. Knowing your status gives you the power to prevent the spread of diseases and to protect yourself to ensure you don’t contract any diseases.” says Minister Mbombo
Always make sure you use a condom correctly. Do not use two condoms at the same time, do not re-use a condom or use one condom on more than one partner. Always discard of the condom immediately after use by wrapping it in toilet paper or tissue and throwing it in the bin. If the condom breaks during sex, remove it immediately, discard it and replace it with a new condom before continuing with sex. Remember to check the expiry date on your condom and to store your condoms in a cool, dry place.
To prevent unwanted pregnancy, we strongly recommend that you always use a condom together with another form of birth control, such as the oral contraceptive, injection, intrauterine device, or implant. Contraceptives are available for free at all clinics and reproductive health centres. There is no age restriction to accessing contraceptives. We encourage everyone to access contraception as soon as they are sexually active.
What should women do if they had sex without a condom and did not use a contraceptive? You should visit your nearest clinic within three to five days after you had unprotected sex and ask for the emergency contraceptive. Please also use this opportunity to get screened for STIs and to enquire about a form of birth control – oral contraceptive, injection, intrauterine device or implant – that will be best suited for you. Contraceptives are safe and prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
Don’t take a chance, make double sure you are safe by always using a condom and another form of birth control.