How to Tell Your Partner You Have a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)

How to Tell Your Partner You Have a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)

It is important to talk openly about sexual health and to break the stigma surrounding STIs. They are common, especially among young adults, and often have no symptoms. Talking about STIs can prevent transmission and ensure proper treatment, and it is important to be open with partners about one's STI status. A step-by-step guide on how to tell a partner about an STI is available.

1. Get tested

It is possible to have an STI without having symptoms and not realizing it. Some STIs, like HIV, may not show up on a test until months after being infected and can still be transmitted to others. It is important to get tested at the beginning of any sexual relationship and again a few months later, and practice safer sex in the meantime. Even if test results come back negative, it is still important to discuss sexual histories and safer sex with partners, and continue to get tested regularly.

2. Get the facts

It's important to not take everything you hear about STIs at face value. It's better to do research and gain knowledge about symptoms, treatment, and how the STI can be transmitted. Remember that many people may have STIs without knowing it, so if you are aware of your status and take appropriate precautions, the risk of spreading the STI is low.

3. Talk to your partner before any sexual contact

It's best to talk about your STI status with your partner before engaging in any form of sexual activity, including oral sex. The timing of the conversation may vary depending on the specific STI you have. For example, if you have oral herpes, you should tell your partner before kissing them. If you have a genital STI, you should discuss it before engaging in any type of sexual activity, including vaginal, anal, or oral sex. This open communication about your sexual health history is important for both casual and serious relationships as it allows both partners to make informed decisions about the types of sexual activity and safer sex precautions they want to take.

4. Discuss how you want to communicate

When discussing STIs with your partner, it is important to choose a location where you feel safe and comfortable. Having an exit nearby can also be helpful in case the conversation becomes aggressive or uncomfortable. If meeting in person is not an option or you do not feel safe doing so, alternative methods of communication such as messaging or video chatting can be considered, depending on the nature of your relationship and your personal communication preferences.

5. Prepare for the talk

Make sure to choose a time and place where you feel comfortable and secure when discussing your STI status, especially if you're unsure of how the other person will react. It may be helpful to have a supportive friend to check in with after the conversation. Some individuals prefer to have the discussion as soon as possible, while others prefer to wait and get to know the person first in a non-sexual context. Ultimately, it is up to you and also depends on when you plan on having sexual contact.

6. Open up for discussion

If you have an STI and are considering telling your sexual partner, it's important to first get tested and understand the facts about the infection, including symptoms, treatment, and transmission. It's best to have this conversation before engaging in sexual activity and to choose a safe and comfortable location for the conversation. It's also important to be prepared for their reaction, and to ask questions about their sexual health history to make an informed decision about engaging in sexual activity with them. It's also important to remember that it is normal to feel embarrassed but discussing STIs is important for protecting yourself and your partner.

7. Anticipate possible reactions

It's important to have a conversation with your partner about your STI status before engaging in any sexual activity. However, the response of your partner may vary. They may be understanding and supportive or they may react negatively. It's important to be prepared for any reaction and take care of yourself emotionally. Remember that their response is a reflection of them, not you.

8. Be proud that you did it!

It can be nerve-wracking to reveal personal information about your sexual health to a partner, and it's not an easy conversation to have. But it's important to remember that it takes courage to have this conversation and it's better to be open about it than to not say anything at all. Be proud of yourself for taking this step, regardless of the reaction you may receive.