Talking to your partner about STDs

You are in a new relationship. Things look promising, and you are ready to move on to the next level. But before that, you would like to talk to your partner about STDs. Sexually transmitted diseases do not exactly make for romantic date night conversation, and you are worried that bringing up the subject might cut short the budding relationship. So what can you do in such a situation? How do you discuss STD testing with your partner without coming across as judgmental or accusatory?

The best time to talk about STD testing is before things heat up, and it is too difficult to pull back or think in a rational manner. Your partner may also not take it well if you suddenly initiate the topic when you are about to have sex. In the throes of passion, he or she may either get angry or choose to dismiss it completely. Choose a suitable time and place to have the talk when you are both relaxed, and can think coolly and clearly.

And don’t forget that attitude is key to a successful STD talk. Do not start the discussion by pointing out your partner’s past relationships or accusing them of irresponsible behavior. Instead tell your partner that you can see your relationship moving towards intimacy, and you would like to get tested so that you can both enjoy the next stage knowing that you don’t have to worry about your health.

If your partner agrees with you, find an STD testing center near you and go together. But if your partner is not convinced about the need for STD testing, you may have to explain why it is important to you. A lot of people think that you need to get tested for STDs only if you have symptoms. Your partner may be one of them. You may have to explain to them that many STDs can be asymptomatic, which means that he or she may have an infection even though there are no signs or symptoms.

If your partner’s hesitation to get tested stems from worry about the cost of testing or fear of invasive testing procedures, assure him that there are many clinics that offer private, affordable and easy blood and urine tests for diagnosing most common STDs. If your partner still doesn’t want to get tested, it may be time to take a step back and re-examine your relationship.

If you currently have an STD or are undergoing treatment for it, you have to be upfront with your partner about it. However, do not treat it like a dirty secret or something you are ashamed of. In most cases, your attitude to the infection will play a major role in your partner’s response to it. If your partner has any questions, answer them to the best of your knowledge. While it is normal to seek reassurance after disclosing such personal information, do not push your partner to make a decision about your relationship immediately. The information may have come as a surprise to them – give them enough time to understand the implications and then decide.

In the same way, if your partner discloses that he or she has an STD, do not overreact. They could have hidden the info from you, but they chose to share it with you because they care about you. So you should take the time to listen to them and understand the facts. Then take an informed decision about whether you want continue with the relationship or not. Many STDs can be completely cured with antibiotics, while others can be treated or managed with medicines.

Talking about STDs with a partner is definitely not easy. But it is much better than knowing that you have an infection or your partner has one after you have had sex. So have that talk before it is too late.