Sexually Transmitted Diseases Problem Set

Problem 11: Additional Help to Prevent Transmission of STDs

Help to answer the question

Which of the following may help prevent the transmission of STDs if used in addition to condoms?

A. Birth control foams
B. Birth control pills
C. Intrauterine devices


Birth control foams, creams, or jellies kill many STD germs. They are not fully effective by themselves, but may help if used in addition to condoms. Condoms, used correctly and consistently, are effective in preventing the spread of most sexually transmitted diseases. They are especially efficient in preventing the spread of the diseases transmitted by exchange of body fluids which takes place during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

Condoms are also an efficient barrier to the transmission of the diseases transmitted by direct contact if the infected area is covered by the condom.They are not efficient if the symptoms are located on the scrotum, the buttocks, or the thighs.

Spreading of STDs
Because the diseases are asymptomatic so much of the time, many people are infected and spreading STDs without knowing it. Clinical studies show that when a person is diagnosed with one STD there is 40% possibility that this person is also infected with a second STD. There is also evidence that most STDs facilitate HIV transmission.

- Abstinence is the best way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.
- Sex with one partner "known" to be free of any STDs is also safer.
- Avoid having sex if you have doubts about the infectious status of your partner.
- Ask partner about past sexual partners and needle drug use.
- Use condoms. Used consistently and correctly male or female condoms will protect much of the time.
- Use birth control foam, cream or jelly in addition to condoms. These products kill many STD germs, but are not fully effective without condoms.
- Ask your medical provider to specifically check you for STDs every time you have a health exam.
- Have yourself examined by a medical professional if you think you might be at risk.
If you are diagnosed with an STD:
- Avoid having sex until your medical provider says that you can.
- Make sure that your partner (or partners) are also examined by a medical provider.

The Biology Project
University of Arizona
Tuesday, December 2, 1997
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