Here are some tips that can help get the conversation started. It’s all about feeling confident in knowing that you are doing the right thing! Many people are happy to find out how supportive their partner can be and how this conversation can bring them closer together.
Time it Right. Plan the conversation. Start it when you have time and privacy, and, before things start to heat up. Explain this isn’t about a lack of trust. You’ve been reading up and STDs are really common and most people who have one don’t know it.
Try Saying Something Like. “I’m kind of nervous to put this out there… but I think it’s important that we go get tested together. I heard that one in two sexually active people in the U.S. will get an STD by age 25 – and most won’t even know it. The only sure way for us to know is to get tested.”
Listen. After you have said what you want to say, listen. But what if there’s no response? Just ask your partner what he/she thinks about getting tested. If your partner is reluctant to get tested you may want to consider whether this is a person you want to be in a relationship with.
Discussing Your Results. Because STDs are so common, more regular testing is recommended for some STDs. For example, Chlamydia testing is advised once a year for all women age 25 and under who are having sex. If you start a new relationship get tested again. Your partner will appreciate it. And ask that they do the same.
If Your Results Come Back Positive. Complete all treatments prescribed to you, even if you no longer have symptoms or feel unwell. Wait to have sex until you have completed your treatment. When you do have sex, use a condom. When used correctly condoms are very effective at preventing many STDs, including HIV, as well as pregnancy. If you’ve had sex with other partners since the last time you were tested, they should also be notified since they too may be infected.
STDs are not the end of the world. Getting yourself tested is the first step in protecting yourself, and others.
Acknowledgements: This fact sheet was adapted from ItsYourSexLife.com, a website that provides education about sexual health.