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Top 10 Questions
1. Why use a condom?
2. What are sexually transmitted infections or STIs?
3. How can I get an STI?
4. Can STIs be cured?
5. How will I know if my partner(s) or I have an STI?
6. What is emergency contraception or EC?
7. How can I practise safer sex?
8. What is my risk of STIs?
9. What questions should I ask my sexual partner(s)?
10. Why get an STI test?

1. Why use a condom?

Condoms can prevent you from getting pregnant and reduce your risk of catching or spreading sexually transmitted infections, also known as STIs.


2. What are sexually transmitted infections or STIs?

Sexually transmitted infections or STIs are infections that can be spread during sexual contact with other people.


3. How can I get an STI?

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are passed from person to person through oral, anal and vaginal sexual contact, skin-to-skin genital contact, and/or sharing sex toys.

You can become infected if you have unprotected sex with someone who already has an STI. Unprotected sex means sex where there is no barrier (such as condoms or oral dams) to prevent exposure to your partner’s body fluids, such as vaginal secretions, ejaculate, pre-ejaculate and blood.

Remember: some STIs, such as genital lice, herpes and warts, live on the surface of the skin and can be passed to another person through skin-to-skin contact without sexual penetration.


4. Can STIs be cured?

Most STIs can be cured. Those that cannot be cured can now be well managed. You need to see your health care provider to get tested and, if need be, treated.


5. How will I know if my partner(s) or I have an STI?

Many STIs show no obvious signs and symptoms and, therefore, can go unnoticed and untreated. You cannot tell by looking at someone or talking to someone that they have an STI. You have to get tested to find out if you have an STI. If left untreated, STIs can lead to serious long-term health problems such as infertility (the inability to have a baby), certain forms of cancer and even death.


6. What is emergency contraception or EC?

Emergency contraception (EC) can be used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse or when a contraceptive method has failed or wasn’t used correctly. The emergency contraceptive delays or prevents ovulation and works as late as five days after unprotected intercourse. Remember, the sooner you take it the more effective it is: so act quickly!

Emergency contraception is used before implantation and cannot induce an abortion. Once a pregnancy has started, EC is not effective.


7. How can I practise safer sex?

No sexual act is completely 100 per cent safe. You can reduce your risk and make it safer by practising safer sex. The basic rule for safer sex is to make sure that the blood, semen or vaginal fluids of your partner(s) do not enter your body unless you know for sure that your partner(s) is not carrying an STI.

  • Use condoms and/or oral dams when you have oral, anal, and vaginal sex with all partners.
  • If sharing sex toys, cover the toy with a new condom each time.
  • Be monogamous - that is, only have sex with your regular partner.
  • Practise dual protection, which means consistent and proper use of contraception, along with latex or polyurethane barriers (gloves, dams, and condoms).
  • Get regular STI testing (you and your partner(s)).
  • Use water-based lubricants (lube) with latex barriers.


8. What is my risk of STIs?

If you are sexually active, the best way to avoid an STI is to practise safer sex every time you have sex. Some sexual activities pose greater risk for STIs than others. Educate yourself about the risk of various sexual activities so that you can make informed choices about sexual activity.


9. What questions should I ask my sexual partner(s)?

Start talking before things heat up. Be open and honest. Before you engage in any sexual activity with a partner; it is important to discuss these questions:
  • When was your most recent STI test?
  • What were the results of your most recent STI test?
  • What barrier methods (like condoms, sex dams, etc.) do you like to use to prevent STI transmission?
  • What methods of birth control do you prefer (if you are interested in reducing the risk of an unintended pregnancy)?
  • How you would deal with an unplanned pregnancy?
  • What sexual activities are you comfortable with?


10. Why get an STI test?
  • You think you might have an STI.
  • You have had unprotected sex, that is, without a condom or oral dam - including vaginal, oral and anal sex. 
  • You have had a condom break or if it falls off during sex. 
  • Your partner has another sexual partner or has had previous sexual partners.
  • You have shared injecting equipment. 
  • You are starting a new sexual relationship.
If you are unsure whether you need an STI test, talk to your healthcare provider or contact the Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Health Centre.
Use a condom
Talk to your partner
Get Tested
Know your risks!


Use a condom


Talk 2 your partner


Get Tested


Know your risks!

Where can I find help?
Top 10 questions

Updated Mar 15, 2017