Safe sex: it's probably not the first time you've heard the phrase, but what does it mean to you? Maybe you or your partner is on the contraceptive pill, you use condoms sometimes (or all the time) or maybe you just feel that 'it won't happen to me'.
Safe sex means caring for both your own health and the health of your partner. Being safe protects you from getting or passing on sexually transmissible infections (STIs) as well as an unplanned pregnancy. If you are sexually active, stay safe by using condoms and talking to your sexual partner about safe sex.
Sexual health checks
If you are sexually active, get a sexual health check at your doctor, or local sexual health or family planning clinic. A sexual health check may involve:
- Questions about: your sexual orientation (eg straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender), number of sexual partners, sexual practices, symptoms etc; and
- An examination that may include taking swabs, taking urine samples and a blood test.
Contraception is a way to prevent pregnancy, and is sometimes called 'birth control'. Common forms of contraception include the contraceptive pill, implants, injections and condoms.
Whilst the contraceptive pill is an effective method of birth control it does not prevent the transmission of STIs. Barrier contraceptives such as condoms are an effective method for preventing both pregnancies and most STIs. While some STIs are curable many are not and require a life time of maintenance and/or treatment, such as genital herpes and HIV/AIDs.
Sexually transmissable infections (STIs)
If you have unprotected sex, you may be at risk of a sexually transmissible infection (STI), such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and HIV/AIDS . Many STIs have no symptoms so people are unaware they are passing on an infection.
Free test for chlamydia and gonorrhoea
Queensland Health provides the free 13HEALTH webtest service tests for chlamydia and gonorrhoea. You can choose to either give a urine sample at your local pathology collection centre or order a home mailing kit and post your urine sample back.
Information on this webpage is periodically updated. It was originally compiled in 2011 by Rebecca Tretheway, in a partnership between Student Wellbeing and PUB 352 Public Health Project for the USC Health and Wellbeing Project.