Safe sex is sexual activity using methods or devices such as condoms to reduce the risk of transmitting or acquiring sexually transmitted infections STIs , especially HIV. It is also sometimes used colloquially to describe methods aimed at preventing pregnancy that may or may not also lower STI risks. Promoting safe sex is now one of the main aims of sex education and STI prevention, especially reducing new HIV infections. Safe sex is regarded as a harm reduction strategy aimed at reducing the risk of STI transmission.
A safer sex practice is a behaviour that reduces the risk of getting or spreading a sexually transmitted infection STI. They include:. Abstinence refers to refraining from sexual activity. This is a sure-fire way to eliminate the risk of getting or spreading an STI. However, some STIs can be spread through non-penetrative activities such as deep kissing or body rubbing.
Unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sexual intercourse is the easiest way to catch a sexually transmitted infection STI or STD. Even if you use a condom, there can still be some risk from intercourse. As well as using a condom, choosing lower risk sex activities can reduce your risk of catching an STI.
This includes touching, since some STDs can be spread from skin-to-skin contact. In general, STDs are highly preventable. However, a large number of those infections could be avoided if people made different decisions about their sexual health.