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‘Safer sex’ refers to sexual activities that do not involve any blood or body fluids (semen, vaginal fluids, etc.) from one person getting into another person's body. This includes those practices that enable people to reduce their sexual health risks and lower the likelihood of infection with HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections. ‘Safer sex’ principally means using condoms during penetrative sex or having non-penetrative sex (where the penis does not penetrate the vagina or anus). Using latex barriers for oro-genital contact is another form of safer sex.
While some use the term 'safe sex', others use the word 'safer sex' in recognition of the fact that all sexual practices can have consequences – whether in terms of emotional consequences or in terms of infections and pregnancy – and that very few practices are without any risk of infection transmission. For example, using a condom correctly and consistently for anal, oral or vaginal sex greatly reduces the risk of transmission of STIs. Latex condoms are effective in blocking nearly all sexually transmissible organisms. But even these at times are not 100% effective in preventing the transmission of HIV and other STIs. For some STIs that produce lesions outside the area covered by the condom, such as chancroid or herpes, exposure can still occur with condom use. Although condoms are highly effective, breakage and slippage can occur, particularly if the condoms are used incorrectly.
There are many things one can do to lower the risk of contracting STIs. Safer sex is only one aspect of prevention.
Click here for more information on Condoms.