Safer Sex and Prevention

Weighing the Risks

Sex that we willingly say 'yes' to can be a real pleasure allowing us to express who we really are sexually. Unfortunately, sex can also expose us to the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV / AIDS.  How can we explore our sexuality and avoid the risks of becoming infected with an STI? 

Most of us know about using male condoms or internal/female condoms, but it’s sometimes just not as simple as that.  Here are some questions to think about when you are weighing your risks about safer sex in a new or ongoing sexual relationship.

Safer Sex

  • What is safer sex?  (Fewer partners? A relationship with only one partner? Using condoms?)
  • How do our beliefs and attitudes about sex & sexuality affect our view of safer sex?
  • Does having a negative HIV or STI test make sex safer?

Risk?

  • What does sex mean to you? How does that affect your willingness to take risks?
  • What kind of risks do you take now? What risks do you avoid?
  • How do you decide about the risks you will take?
  • How does drug/alcohol use affect risk-taking?

Discussing safer sex with a partner?

  • Do you feel comfortable discussing sex and safer sex with your partner?  If not, why not?
  • What role does self-esteem play in talking to a partner about sex?
  • We learn how to relate to people based on what we see around us.  Do you have a positive role model for discussing sex openly?
  • How does that discussion affect intimacy?

Attitudes ...

  • Has information about STIs and HIV changed your attitude toward sex or your sexual behaviours? If so, how? If not, why not?
  • Have you ever thought about being tested? Do you know where to go?  Are there things that make it difficult for you to go for an STI or HIV test?
  • How can you “play safe” and still have fun?

Get Tested in Manitoba for STI and HIV

SERC, 2006. Adapted from ‘Weighing the Risk’ video guide