Sexuality is part of being human. Love, affection and intimacy all play a role in healthy relationships throughout life. You often hear about the importance of physical health, mental health and spiritual health, but feeling confident about your sexual health also is very important. Be aware of factors that can complicate your sexual health, such as medication, sexually transmitted infections, illness, disability, and physical changes due to age. Don't let embarrassment keep you from talking with your doctor about your concerns.
There are many options when it comes to making a choice about birth control, and your choices may change during different phases of your life. Factors to consider before choosing a birth control method are your overall health, health history, relationship status, and the number of sexual partners you have. You should also choose a method that is realistic for you to use, making sure you understand all possible side effects and/or complications. It is important to discuss all types of birth control with your doctor before making this decision for yourself or as a couple. Visit TRICARE's Covered Services page or check your TRICARE member handbook for benefit coverage.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are spread by sexual contact. The organisms that cause STIs can pass from person to person through bodily fluids such as semen, vaginal secretions and blood. Frequently, people with an STI don't have or recognize symptoms, and don't know they are infected. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the only way to avoid STIs is to not have vaginal, anal or oral sex. If you are sexually active, the CDC recommends being in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested for STIs and has negative results, or using latex condoms the right way every time you have sex to lower your chances of contracting an STI. Sexually active individuals, especially those who have had unprotected sex in the past or currently have several sexual partners, should talk with their doctor about STI testing, which can diagnosis an STI early, when treatment is most effective.