Other than the condom, are there any other methods of preventing contracting STIs?

If so, do any of these also provide an effective form of contraception?

  • 1
    This is an incredibly important question, and until recently, the two have not been studied together. +1! Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 20:41
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    The only (100%) form of contraception is surely abstinence, but I get laughed at for suggesting that to people my age :P
    – Tim
    Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 20:56

1 Answer 1


The CDC lists two: complete abstinence, and being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.

Sexual intercourse naturally introduces microtears (small tears in the the epithelial layer) through which diseases can transfer between partners. One might think that additional lubrication would help with this, but the jury is most definitely out on that.

I think it's pretty safe to say that if there was another clinically verified way of preventing STDs, the CDC would have put it on this list. (For example, they note that there are specific things you can be vaccinated against, namely hepatitis B and HPV.) It strains credulity to think that there is a mechanism available that the CDC just forgot to mention there.

Having said all of that, I'll just mention the fact that there are a variety of types of condoms. If you are in a situation where you need to use them (e.g. non abstinent and not in a long term monogamous relationship), you might be able to find a brand or type that works better for you.

EDIT: A comment has pointed out that a cervical barrier method can reduce the risk of transmission of certain types of STIs. Since that does not show up on the CDC list I mentioned, I feel that it's worth bringing up. By no means is that a "safe substitute" for a condom (and I don't think anyone is implying that it is). However, as a risk reducer, it should be added to the list.

  • I take it that a vasectomy doesn't act as STI prevention?
    – Tim
    Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 15:56
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    The answer depends on the degree of protection as well. Cervical barrier methods do decrease STD's, less so than condoms, but condoms aren't 100% either! Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 20:50
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    @Tim that depends on whether you consider a pregnancy an "infection" :) (NOTE: if you were being serious--the answer is no. Vasectomy does not offer protection against STIs: webmd.com/sex/birth-control/vasectomy-14387).
    – msouth
    Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 21:43
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    @msouth well I wondered because I thought some may be passed from the testes. I guess residual bodily fuid pases it.
    – Tim
    Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 22:08
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    @Tim if you wondered it, it is good that you asked. I hope my little bit of humor didn't make you feel bad for asking a question. If you were wondering that, someone else probably was, too. I don't actually know if there are specific things only transmitted by sperm or maybe extra-facilitated by the sperm's motion. But I think it's basically like you said--the vasectomy takes the sperm out of the equation, but there is still fluid transfer, skin contact, friction, microtears, etc.
    – msouth
    Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 22:14

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