What are STIs?
STI is an abbreviation for sexually transmitted infection. Each year an estimated 100,000 people in the Netherlands get an STI. Some STIs have serious consequences if they are not treated in time. Luckily, most STIs respond well to treatment. STIs are contagious. You can have an STI without noticing it. And this means that you can pass on an STI without noticing it as well.
Examples of STIs are: HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) chlamydia, genital warts, genital herpes, gonorrhoea, hepatitis B and syphilis.
How do you get them?
STIs are passed on in sperm, blood, vaginal fluid and by contact between mucous membranes. There are mucous membranes in the rectum, penis, vagina and mouth.
Most people acquire an STI from unprotected sex. Unprotected sex means:
- Vaginal intercourse without a condom;
- Anal sexual intercourse without an extra strong condom;
- Oral sex (fellatio and cunnilingus) without a condom or dental dam.
Some STIs can also be acquired via blood. You can get them as a result of unhygienic tattooing or piercing. Or if you take drugs and use needles, syringes or other attributes that belong to someone else. HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy.
HIV, hepatitis B, syphilis, chlamydia, genital herpes and gonorrhoea can be passed to the baby at birth. You don’t get an STI by drinking out of another person’s cup. You don’t get them from someone’s cough, from insect bites or a dirty toilet seat. Nor are you at risk in a swimming pool.
STIs are usually transmitted by sperm, blood or vaginal fluid and by contact between mucous membranes. Mucous membranes are found in places such as the vagina, penis, rectum and in the mouth. You can contract and pass on an STI infection without knowing. If you practise safe sex, your chance of contraIting an STI is small.
Safe sex means:
- Having sexual contact with one long-term partner, one who never has sex with another partner and who does not have an STI;
- Stroking, French kissing, kissing, cuddling, massaging, masturbating or bringing the other to orgasm by hand;
- Using a condom for vaginal intercourse (penis in the vagina);
- Using a condom with extra lubrication for anal intercourse (penis in the anus).
To prevent HIV, if you have oral sex (fellatio and cunnilingus) you need to make sure that no sperm or blood (including menstrual blood) enters the mouth. To avoid the risk of getting other STIs through oral sex (even though it is a small one), you can always use a condom if the penis is inside mouth, or a dental dam (or condom cut open) for licking the vagina.
You can have sex in many different ways.
SOA Aids Nederland / STI Aids Netherlands
STI AIDS Netherlands is the Dutch expertise centre for HIV and other STIs. Among other things, our task is to inform people about how they can make healthy choices and to motivate them to take care of themselves and others.
We strongly advice every swinger to read all the available information on their website, in order to prevent from serious illnesses.