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I am taking medicine for my sexually transmitted disease (STD). Is it OK to have sex?

You should always wait until you have finished all of your medication for any curable STD (such as chlamydia and gonorrhea) and have had a follow-up examination before having sex with someone. Your sexual partner(s) should also complete treatment before you have sex again. Even if either of you had symptoms that went away, this does not mean that the infection is cured. Finishing all of your medicine and following up with your health care provider is the only way to be sure the infection is necessary to avoid passing the STD to another person.

For viral STDs, such as herpes or HIV, taking some medications can help lower the risk of passing herpes or HIV to a partner, but there is still a chance you could infect a partner. Using condoms and other latex barriers during oral, anal or vaginal sex will help lower the chances even more. For example, certain medications used for treating herpes outbreaks can also help to reduce something called viral shedding. With herpes sometimes a person has symptoms—such as blisters, itching or a tingling sensation—when the virus can be “shed” (passed) to a partner, even though the shedding isn’t accompanied by signs or symptoms. Certain medications can reduce this shedding significantly though a person can “shed” the virus without any symptoms.

While there are no guarantees, taking these medications and also using condoms and other safer sex methods every time you have oral, anal or vaginal sex is a good way to help prevent passing the virus to your partner. Just keep in mind that condoms can’t prevent infections from spreading if a person has an infection on the skin not covered by the condom. For example, if a person has a herpes sore on their upper thigh, then his or her partner could rub against it and also become infected with herpes.

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