STI Prevention

How They Spread

You can get Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) during vaginal/internal genitalia, anal (butt), or oral (mouth) sex. STIs can be transmitted through the exchange of blood, semen, and vaginal/internal genitalia fluids, or through skin contact. 

Prevention Methods

There are many ways to prevent STIs. Choose the methods that work for you and your partner(s).

  • Have Fewer Partners: The more people you have sex with, the greater your chances of getting an STI. Ask new partners if they have been tested for STIs since their last partner(s).
  • Don't Mix Drugs and Alcohol with Sex: Drinking alcohol and using recreational drugs can affect your ability to make healthy and safe decisions about sex. If you are thinking of drinking alcohol or using drugs, make a plan with your partner(s) beforehand.
  • Don't Use IV (injected) Street Drugs, and Never Share Needles: Some STIs can also be spread through IV drug use.
  • Get Vaccinated: HPV (common types), hepatitis A, and hepatitis B can be prevented with vaccines. Talk to your health care provider about getting vaccinated.
  • Use Condoms: Condoms are a highly effective way to prevent STIs when you use them correctly and consistently. Use a condom every time you have anal, vaginal/internal genitalia, or oral sex. You can also use a dental dam for oral sex if a condom does not work for you. Many places offer condoms for free, but you can also purchase them in most pharmacies and general retail stores.

Condom Request Form

Whatcom County Health and Community Services provides condoms at no cost to individuals in need. If you would like to request condoms from us, please fill out the Condom Request form.