High-risk sexual behaviour puts people at risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unplanned pregnancy, and being in a sexual relationship before being mature enough to know what makes a healthy relationship. Teens and young adults are at higher risk than adults.
Examples of high-risk sexual behaviour include:
- Unprotected intercourse without male or female condom use.
- Unprotected mouth-to-genital contact.
- Starting sexual activity at a young age. The younger people are when they start having sex, the greater their risk is of getting genital herpes.
- Having multiple sex partners.
- Having a high-risk partner (one who has multiple sex partners or other risk factors).
- Having unprotected anal sex or a partner who does.
- Having sex with a partner who injects or has ever injected drugs.
- Sex trade work.
Reasons for high-risk behaviour
People may have high-risk behaviour because they:
- May not understand the concern about STIs and how they are transmitted.
- May not talk about safer sex practices with sex partners.
- Aren't prepared or don't understand how to use protective measures to prevent STIs.
- May not be aware of symptoms of STIs.
- May not seek medical care for STI symptoms.
- May not have access to treatment or be able to afford treatment.
- May use alcohol and drugs and have sex. Drugs and alcohol impair judgment and make unsafe sex more likely.
For more information, see the topic Sexually Transmitted Infections.
Current as of: July 7, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor, MD, MMEd, FRCPC - Emergency Medicine