Many approaches to curtailing the spread of STIs have been advocated. These range from attempting to discourage sexual activity among young people to providing easy public access to information about the symptoms of STIs, along with free medical treat­ment. Unfortunately, the efforts of public health agencies have not been very successful in curbing the rapid spread of STIs. For this reason, it is doubly important to stress a variety of specific preventive measures that can be taken by an individual or a couple.

Clearly, abstinence from partner sex is one virtually surefire way to avoid an STI. Being infection-free and monogamous yourself and having a partner who is also infec­tion-free and monogamous is another way to prevent contracting an STI. However, it is often difficult for people to assess the infection-risk status of prospective or cur­rent partners and, for that matter, to assess how committed their partners are to being monogamous.

Having a frank and open discussion before initial sexual interaction may seem dif­ficult and embarrassing. However, in this era of epidemic health-damaging and life – threatening STIs, such discussions are essential to making sound judgments that may have profound ramifications for your physical and psychological well-being. Conse­quently, we address this issue early in our outline of prevention guidelines.