Hesperian Health Guides
Teaching women how to prevent STIs
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Women should know that any sex partner may have an STI. A man has a much greater chance of having an STI if he has sex with other partners without using condoms.
Testing is the only sure way to know if a person has an STI. Find out if there is affordable STI testing in your area, and learn about testing women yourself.
The surest way for a woman to avoid getting an STI is for her to avoid having sex with anyone who might be infected. Or she can use condoms (for men or women) when she does have sex. Condoms protect very well against most STIs, although there is always some chance of getting an STI even with a condom.
Midwives can help protect women from HIV and hepatitis B by sterilizing any syringes or other tools used during birth or invasive procedures.
Midwives can teach a woman these ways to protect herself:
- Use a condom every time she has sex.
- Do not have sex with someone who has signs of an STI (although many STIs spread even when the person has no signs).
- Do not douche or use herbs or powders to dry the vagina. When the vagina is dry or irritated by douches, sex can cause tiny cuts in the skin, making the woman more likely to be infected by HIV or other STIs.