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Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections spread from person to person during sex (vaginal, oral, or anal) or close sexual contact. STDs are also called sexually transmitted infections, or STIs. It’s important to talk to your kids about STDs so they can protect themselves.

The only way to completely avoid STDs is to not have sex or close sexual contact. To help lower their risk of getting an STD, people who do have sex can:

  • Use a latex condom every time they have sex (vaginal, oral, or anal).
  • Get tested with any new partners before having sex.
  • Have sex with one partner only (who also doesn’t have sex with other people).

Learn about the signs and symptoms of the most common STDs, how they spread, and how they’re diagnosed and treated: