Let's Talk About Safe Sex

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Hi, I'm Dr. Oz. Are you practicing safe sex? Today in North America, over 20 million new sexually transmitted infections, STIs are reported annually. Half are in people 15 and 24, but many are in folks 65 and older. At any age, sex can be fun as long as you protect yourself. STIs caused by viruses include hepatitis B, herpes, HIV and the human papilomavirus know as HPV.

Bacterial STIs are chlamydiae, gonorrhea and syphilis. A parasite causes trichomoniasis. Antibiotics can treat bacterial and parasitic infections. Viral STIs are difficult to cure and you usually just manage the symptoms. Left unchecked, STIs can cause infertility, cancer, immune system damage or organ failure.

The smart move is to avoid getting one in the first place, but if you do, treat it immediately. Only abstinence, condoms and the HPV vaccine help prevents STIs. A latex condom help block out HIV and other infections, but don't protect against herpes or HPV. The HPV vaccine prevents that infection. So if you think you've caught an STI, see your doc pronto, and take your medication as prescribed.

I'm Dr. Oz. Check out all our smart tips for more ways to protect your health.