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Facts - General

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Can you get an STI from a toilet seat?

NO! You get STIs by having sex (vaginal, oral or anal) or by skin-to-skin touching; not from toilet seats.

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Can you get HIV or a STI from getting a tattoo or through body piercing?

YES! There can be a risk for HIV or another blood-borne infection (like hepatitis B or C) if the instruments used for piercing or tattooing either are not sterilized or disinfected between clients. Any instrument used to pierce or cut the skin should be used once and thrown away. Ask the staff at the parlor about their equipment. They should show you what precautions they use, or don't get pierced or tattooed there.

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Can you get an STI from oral sex?

YES! During oral sex, you can give your partner your STI and you can get theirs. Not all STIs are transmitted through oral sex, but some are. For example, if your partner has a cold sore (oral herpes) and performs oral sex on you, you could become infected with herpes in your genital area.

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Can you get an STI if your partner is a virgin?

YES! Depending on how your partner defines being a virgin, it is possible for them to have contracted an STI. Your partner might not have had vaginal sex, but may have had oral sex with someone (and still consider themselves a virgin), putting themselves at risk for an STI. Also, there are other STIs (herpes and HPV) that are passed through skin-to-skin contact, even if no penetration has taken place. It is important to discuss with your partner all sexual activity they have participated in and to always practice safer sex.

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Are condoms the best way to avoid pregnancy?

NO! The best way to avoid getting pregnant is though abstinence. Abstinence (not having any kind of sex) is the only 100% effective form of birth control. If abstinence isn’t an option, using a condom in combination with a hormonal form of birth control is a close second. For example, this could be a condom used together with the birth control pill.

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Can you get pregnant while on your period?

YES! It's very uncommon, but it is possible since having your period doesn’t predict when you will release an egg which has to be present for sperm to begin the process of conception. Additionally, since sperm can live inside your uterus for up to 5 days, if you release an egg during these 5 days you run the risk of getting pregnant. Due to the unpredictability of your cycle, if you want to avoid pregnancy it’s important to use contraception even when you are menstruating.

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Does peeing or douching after sex protects against pregnancy?

NO! When a male ejaculates, the sperm travels through the vagina into the cervix, and then into the uterus. Urine is released from the urethra, not from the vaginal opening, so it does not come in contact with sperm. Washing or douching will not prevent pregnancy due to the speed of which semen travels into your cervix and the fact that water can’t reach the uterus. In fact, douching can actually push sperm up farther up into the vagina. Douching also causes an imbalance of healthy bacteria on your vaginal walls and can put you at an increased risk of contracting a vaginal infection.

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Can a girl get pregnant the first time she has sex?

YES! It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time having sex – it is possible to get pregnant. Abstaining from sex altogether is the best way to prevent pregnancy, but if you decide to have sex, condoms and other birth control methods can help prevent pregnancy.

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Can I use a condom more than once, if I wash it properly?

NO! A condom should NEVER be used twice under any circumstances.

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Will condoms help me stay safe during sex?

YES! Use a condom combined with a hormonal form of birth control during every sexual encounter. Additionally, it is always wise to know your status (regarding HIV/AIDS and other STD’s/STI’s) as well as your partner’s status.

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Are baby oil and Vaseline® okay to use as lubricants with latex condoms?

NO! Oil-based lubricants (like baby oil, Vaseline®, handcreams, Crisco) can break down latex and allow STDs/STIs to pass through. Instead, water soluble lubricants like K-Y Jelly®, Glide®, Aqualube®, most contraceptive jellies, saliva, or even plain ol' water are good lubricants to use with condoms.