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Where do you go if you want to know how to prevent STDs?

You’ve heard it. We’re sexual beings. But we’re not morons. We wouldn’t risk our lives, our health and our self esteem. Would we?

To help you erect (ahem) barriers between yourself and STDs, here are things to think about.

The first line of defense (and it’s 100 percent effective) against STDs is abstinence, or lack of sexual intercourse.

The second line of defense is to not rush into a sexual relationship. The more partners you have, the higher the chance of contracting an STD. This is only sexy if oozing genitals and painful urination is a motor turner for you.

If you do decide to have sex with your significant other, advance to the third defense which is: Education. It’s plain and simple.

Go the Deschutes County Health Department. They provide “confidential, low cost, drop-in STD infection screening to all persons over the age of 12, regardless of their ability to pay. The clinics are for both men and women,” according to their website. “All information disclosed by clients is confidential.”

Some of the things you will learn there are:

• Use a latex condom correctly each time you have sex. Other birth control methods do not prevent STDs. Don’t let anyone tell you that they do.

• As awkward as this sounds, talk to the person you want to have sex with about having sex. The DCHD suggests finding a time and place that is non-sexual to bring up the subject. For many, the act of communicating about sex feels more intimate than the act itself. Get over it. Protect yourself.

• Most people that have STDs do not have any symptoms. Go get checked. Get checked every six months, especially if you have multiple partners or have changed partners. If you find out that your partner has cheated on you, get checked and rechecked again in six months.

Adults have to make their own sexual decisions, but please, be educated first.

http://www.deschutes.org 541-322-7400

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