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Washing After Sex Can Actually Increase The Risk of STDs

  • hiv
  • std
  • sex
  • washing
  • prevention

Question:

"Does washing yourself after sex help prevent STDs?"

- Anonymous

Response:

Washing of the genitalia after a sexual encounter does not reduce the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease and, therefore, is not a preventative measure against STDs. Practicing safe sex happens before and during the act not afterward. 

Additionally, there is some evidence that washing after sex can, actually, increase a person’s risk of contracting HIV. There is considerable debate in the medical community over why this may be true. One theory is that washing removes the enzymes from vaginal secretions that neutralize HIV. Another argument is that the act of washing the rectum, penis or vagina after sex can cause tiny abrasions in the skin. Or that the soaps involved act as irritants at a chemical level causing the sensitive skin of the genitals to become slightly thinner or creating micro tears that make the skin susceptible to HIV and other STDs. If one feels the need to wash after a sexual act, use only water and not soap.  

One of the best safe sex measures a person can take is to have an open and honest conversation with their partner(s) about their sexual past and history before engaging in sexual activity. Even in a casual relationship having an open conversation about your sexual health history will prevent a lot of suffering in the long run. Getting screened before having sex with a new partner is the number one way to identify, treat, and prevent infection. STDAware offers full panel and individual testing options. Click here to get started and defend your sexual health!

Aside from abstinence and routine STD screening prior to sexual activity with any new partner(s), the most effective method of STD prevention is using a condom. It is important to note that condom use should be consistent and correct.  Always use a new un-used condom for each sexual encounter. If it breaks or does not go on properly, throw it away and start with a new one. For more tips on proper condom use visit our blog. Even though condoms assist in preventing most STDs they are not 100% effective. 

Ultimately, the measures above are the best methods for preventing STDs.  There is no evidence-based research showing any preventative impact of washing. In fact, any evidence regarding washing after sex points to the increased instance of STD infection. 

Other Safe Sex Measures Include:

•    Limiting the number of sexual partners

•    Proper hygiene

•    Self-education and awareness of STD signs and symptoms on your own body and any sexual partner(s)

If you are worried that you might have contracted an STD, the only way to know is to get tested. STDAware offers easy, accessible and convenient testing solutions. You will have answers within 1-2 days. Testing and results are 100% confidential and secure. Click here to choose a full panel or individual testing solution.

STDAware offers no-cost medical consultation and prescription services in the event that test results come back positive for having an STD. Click here to find out more about STDAware medical and advise staff availability.


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