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  » Men's health  »  STDs

Taking simple steps to prevent getting or spreading sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), will pay off both for yourself and for those you love. The best way to prevent getting or spreading these diseases is to know your "ABCs."

  • The "A" stands for "abstinence" (not having sex of any kind). Abstaining from sexual activities, including vaginal, anal, or oral sex, is the safest way to avoid STDs.
  • The "B" is for "be faithful." Being in a sexual relationship with only one partner who is also faithful to you limits your number of sexual partners and the possibility of infections.
  • The "C" is for condoms. Condoms should be used for any sexual activity with a partner who has an STD, or with any partner outside of a long-term, faithful sexual relationship.

Remember, if you choose not to follow A, B, or C, you could get someone pregnant or get an STD, even AIDS. You can feel proud knowing you are doing your best to keep both you and your partner safe and healthy for life.


STDs are a real threat to your health. Did you know that:

  • STDs are the most commonly reported diseases in the United States.
  • STDs can affect everyone who has sex with a person who is infected-men and women of all ages, racial/ethnic backgrounds, and income levels.
  • And many STDs have no symptoms!

Once called venereal diseases, STDs are infections or diseases that you get by having sexual contact (vaginal, anal, or oral) with someone who already has an STD. More than 20 STDs affect both men and women. STDs can be transmitted a number of ways.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis are transmitted when infected semen or vaginal fluids contact your urethra (tube inside the penis that carries urine out of the body) or the female vagina or cervix. For genital herpes, syphilis, and human papillomavirus (HPV, genital warts), skin-to-skin contact (with sores or infected genital skin that looks normal) can be all it takes to get the disease. And remember, you even can get genital herpes, syphilis, and HPV through contact with genital areas that aren't covered by a condom.