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Should I stop having sex if I have an STI?

You just received test results showing that you have an STI. Lots of thoughts are crossing your mind, and one of them is whether this means that you should stop having sex. Should you?

STIs are quite common, and most of us will get at least one at some point in our lives. While sex is one of the common ways through which Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are transmitted, there are several other ways such as skin contact and mother-to-child during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and birth.  

Sex is, however, one of the the most common ways through which STIs are transmitted.

So, should you stop having sex if you have an STI?

If you or your partner gets diagnosed with an STI, you may need to stop having sex. While using a condom correctly will minimize the chances of passing on the STI, there is still a chance you can contact or pass it to your partner(s) since condoms are not 100% effective at prevention.

Also, STIs not only affect the sexual organs but some affect your throat and rectum as well. This means oral and anal sex should also be avoided.

So, the recommended next step after knowing your status is to get on your medication and ensure that you take all of them as your doctor prescribes, and do not stop taking them just because your symptoms disappear or because you feel much better.

If you must…

If you must have sex, especially if you have an STI that is easily treatable such as chlamydia, and you are on treatment, keep using condoms for vagina and anal sex and flavored condoms and dental dams for oral sex. You should do this until your healthcare provider says you’re totally cured and can have unprotected sex again. Before then, ensure that you practice safe sex at all times for all sexual activities.

If have an incurable STI such as herpes, HIV, and genital warts, avoid any and all sexual contact with others until you finish all of your medicine and in the case of HIV you achieve undetectable level. You should also avoid sex with protection if this is the case.


It is always recommended that you contact the people you’ve had sex with and let them know that they should get tested too. This can be awkward and scary, but it’s the right thing to do as their health is at risk.

Do you have any questions or want to share your experience? Talk to us in the comments section.

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LoveMatters Africa

Blush-free facts and stories about love, sex, and relationships