Talking to your bf/gf/partner about STDs and Testing
Talking about sex , STDs and testing isn’t always easy. That’s why GYT has all the info, tips and videos you need to help you bring up the conversation with your boyfriend, girlfriend or partner. Rise up, stand tall, and get yourself talking! It’s all about feeling confident in knowing that you are doing the right thing! Even if you feel a little nervous, that’s ok, a lot of people do. But having an open and honest conversation is always the way to go. So what are you waiting for? Get yourself talking today!
Knowing is Everything.
Get in the know about STDs and testing and read up. Knowing the facts will make you feel more confident and help you answer questions your bf/gf/partner might have. If he or she has questions you can’t answer, GYTnow.org offers information and links to local health centers and clinics.
The Time is Now.
Find a time to talk when you have privacy and before things start to heat up. Explain this isn’t about a lack of trust. It’s possible that you or your partner got an STD from an earlier relationship and don’t even know it. It is also not a sign that you have been cheating. Tell your partner that you’ve been reading up and STDs are really common – 1 in 2 sexually active young people will get an STD by age 25, and most won’t know it. Many STDs show no symptoms. The only way to know for sure is to ask to get tested.
All STDs, including HIV, are treatable and many are curable. The sooner you know, the sooner you can get yourself treated.
If you have an STD, it’s important that you tell a new partner before you have any sexual contact with him/her – including oral sex. You may find it helpful to suggest a local health center where he/she can talk to someone about protection. He/she still needs to be tested – and treated if need be.
Take charge. Don’t wait for your partner to bring up getting tested. You may even find he/she is relieved that you started the conversation first. Nervousness is normal, so speak up!
Getting tested and treated for STDs is just part of staying healthy and taking control of your sex life. In a healthy relationship you can talk about anything, including STDs and getting tested.
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 1 in 2 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.”
- “Getting tested before we have sex will protect both of us. Why take a chance when we can know for sure?”
- “Getting tested is easier than ever before. You just pee in a cup and they can test you for some of the most common STDs. And some HIV tests can give results in 20 minutes- no blood, no needles.”
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. This will help you to know if you are in the same place.
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. After all this is about your health.
Rise Up. Stand Tall. Get Yourself Tested.
Just go GYT! Click here to find testing places in your area or text your zip code to GYTNOW (498669) on your phone. You’ll get a list of local testing locations, including hours of operation and cost. If you’re concerned about cost, many sites offer free or low cost tests.
If your results come back positive…
Take a deep breath. It’s normal to feel surprised, upset or scared when you learn you have an STD.
You’re not alone. STDs are really common. Although few people talk about STDs, they are the nation’s most common type of infection. Millions of people have to deal with STDs each year. 1 in 2 people having sex will get an STD by age 25. And most won’t know it.
Know that having an STD doesn’t make you any less of a person. STDs don’t discriminate—even people with only one partner get them. In fact, many people are infected with an STD the first (and ONLY) time they have sex. Remember – having an STD doesn’t define you.
A common response is to find someone to blame. Try not to. Since many people with STDs have no symptoms, your partner may not have known that he or she was putting you at risk.
The most important step is to talk to you doctor and learn how to protect yourself and your (current and future) partners. All STDs, including HIV, are treatable and many are curable. There are different treatments for different STDs. The sooner you know that you have an STD, the sooner you can see a health care provider and get treatment and take steps to prevent passing it on.
Testing Positive and Discussing Your Results.
It might seem overwhelming to tell your partner that you have an STD, but it’s important to let them know ASAP so they can get tested and treated (if positive). Just as you expect them to be honest with you, you owe them the same. Many STDs are curable and all are treatable, but if left untreated, many can cause serious health problems. By having this conversation before you have sex, you’re showing that you respect and care about your partner’s health.
Know everything that you can about the STD – from how it’s passed on to how you can lower the risk of giving it to your partner-so you can share all of the facts up front.
Remember that it’s not about finger-pointing or blame.. Answering specific questions about when or from whom you got an STD can be tough and sometimes impossible. Help your partner understand that many people who are infected often don’t even know it. And even people with only one partner can get an STD. In fact, many people are infected with an STD the first (and ONLY) time they have sex.
If you’ve been with your partner a while, he/she may already be infected and not have any symptoms. Unless your partner is treated too, he/she could re-infect you after you are treated. If you’ve only been with your partner for a short time or are in a casual relationship, he/she may be infected and pass the infection to others without knowing. If you have an STD that can’t be cured (like herpes) but does have treatment available, you can get help to prevent infection and control the symptoms.
Many people are surprised to find out how supportive their partner can be and how this conversation can bring them closer.
How do I start the conversation?
Find an approach that you’re comfortable with, or a starter line that fits your situation. You might try something like:
I really feel I can trust you, and I’d like to tell you something very personal. [## time] ago, I found out that I have [STD]. It’s not something people talk about much, but I’ve learned that it’s actually really common. Most people who have it don’t even realize it. I’m telling you now so that we can take steps to have safer sex.”
I’d like to talk with you about something… I found out a year ago that I have the herpes virus, which is really common. Most people have it in the form of cold sores around the lips and face, but people can also get it near the genital area. But I want to talk about things we can do to have safer sex.”
What if my bf/gf/partner tells me they have an STD?
If your partner reveals that he/she has (or has had) an STD, don’t jump to conclusions. Be supportive of whatever your partner does say and recognize that it was probably difficult for your partner to share. You should both still get tested and ask while at the health center about treatment and prevention options.
Now what? Show Your Strength.
If you tested positive, complete all treatments prescribed to you, even if you no longer have symptoms or feel unwell. And 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. For more on condoms, check out Love of Latex.
If you’ve had sex with other partners since the last time you were tested, they should also be notified. Getting yourself tested is the first step in protecting yourself and others. GYT.