Having vaginal or anal sex without a condom (unprotected sex) can put you at risk of getting an STI. You can also get some STIs from unprotected oral sex.
Some activities put you at greater risk than others. Riskier activities include unprotected sexual contact:
- with casual partners (the more partners, the greater the risk)
- with a partner who has had unprotected sex with other casual partners
- when travelling to some countries outside Australia
- with a person who has had unprotected sex from some countries outside Australia
- with a partner who has injected drugs
- men who have unprotected anal sex with other men are also at higher risk
Getting regularly tested for STIs is important because many STIs can have no symptoms, so there is a chance that you or your partner could be infected without knowing it.
If you are considering having unprotected sexual contact (meaning sexual contact without a condom), think about asking your partner first about:
- Whether they have an STI
- Whether they've been tested for STIs
- Which STIs they have been tested for and how recently
- Whether or not they have had sex with anyone other than you since they were last tested
It is important to speak up and ask your partner rather than assume they will tell you. There are a lot of people who will be honest if asked, but may find it hard or be embarrassed to bring it up themselves.
If your partner asks you these same questions, be honest too. They have the right to know their risk for getting a STI and to decide whether or not they're willing to have unprotected sex.