How to Have a Conversation with a Partner About STIs
How to talk to your partner about STIs
The best time for you to talk to your partner about STIs, past testing and future testing plans is before you engage in sexual activity. This does not mean that you should pop the question right as your underwear is coming off (although doing that is better than nothing). Instead, you should try to raise the question of STIs and testing before the sexual activity begins. Discussing STIs with your partner is just as much about your health as it is theirs. At first, you might feel like this conversation is awkward, but there is no reason it should be! Remember that it is not about whether or not you trust your partner - people with STIs, especially young people, are often asymptomatic. The best way to know is to get tested frequently for STIs. Therefore, if you’re sexually active, make getting STI tested a regular part of your doctor’s visits/yearly physicals.
- ✿ This is hard for me to talk about, and I understand that this can be a bit awkward, but I care about you and I think it's important. How do you feel about going to get tested for STIs together?
- ✿ FYI, I got tested for STDs last month and I didn’t have anything. Have you ever been tested? I want us to make sure we’re taking care of each other.
- ✿ I think it’s important to be honest, so I want to tell you that I got tested for STDs last month and found out I had chlamydia. I took medicine, and I don’t have it anymore. But it showed me how common and sneaky STDs are. Have you ever been tested?
- ✿ Before we start, I wanted to let you know that I have been tested since my last sexual partner and my results were clean. When was the last time that you were tested?
If your partner refuses to get tested you may want to rethink your relationship with them.
Discussing Sexual Histories
- ✿ This needs to be judgment free!
- ✿ Names should remain confidential (respect your past partner(s) privacy, just as you would want them to do the same for you)
- ✿ It is important to disclose that you have been tested since your last sexual partner (ex. “I have been tested since the last sexual partner I had and I was negative.”)
- ✿ Discuss any risk factors (i.e. if you or your partner has had sex without a condom, if you or your partner has used drugs with needles)
- ✿ National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE
- ✿ How Do I Talk With My Partner About STD Testing?
Talking to your partner about positive test results
- ✿ If you have a positive STI test result, it is extremely important to inform all sexual partners
- ✿ Remain calm and remember that 50% of sexually active people contract an STI by the time they are 25 (they are extremely common)
- ✿ Talk to your doctor about treatment
- ✿ Bring the topic up in a relaxed environment where you won’t be interrupted