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Adam & Eve
talking about STDs, living with STDs, STD advice

How to Tell Someone About Your STD

Telling your partner that you have an STD is something that no one wants to do. It’s awkward, embarrassing and even scary because there’s no telling just how your partner will react. But it’s also a conversation you’ve got to have.

 

Get the Facts First
Before talking with your partner, you need to do your homework and learn all you can about your STD. Your partner is bound to have all kinds of questions. Knowing the answers ahead of time shows that you’re handling your disease responsibly and maturely. One of the most vital things to know is if your disease is curable or not. Even if you can make it go away with some pills, you should still bring it up with your partner. Otherwise, you’ll probably just end up passing it back and forth like some endless tennis match. If your STD is something more significant, such as HIV, HPV or herpes, there could be legal ramifications if you don’t tell your partner.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over 50% of the population has had or will have an STD. Some STDs can remain dormant for months or years so you might even know you’ve got it! Even if you play it completely safe, you’re still at risk. Some diseases such as HPV can spread through skin to skin contact. The point is that STDs are much more common than the average person thinks. And you don’t have to engage in sexually risky behavior with questionable partners to catch an STD either.

 

Breaking the News
The more serious your STD is, the sooner you should discuss it with your new partner. Instead of seeing it as a challenge, you should consider it a litmus test as to whether you’re really right for each other or not. Confessing about your STD establishes a healthy, honest base for your relationship and can even deepen your emotional intimacy.

Pick a time to talk, when you’re both fully dressed and thinking about things other than sex. You will need to be prepared to educate them about the disease and its transmission. This applies to everyone – gay, lesbian, straight or other – because there’s no guarantee that your partner will know about the disease. And even if they’re familiar with it, they might not know enough to distinguish the facts and the myths.

Many couples get into a blame game about who got it in the first place and where they got it from. Try to avoid this if possible. Remember that some STDs can lie dormant for years so the odds are pretty good that you’ll never know the answers. Instead of focusing on the past, you need to talk about the future and how this might change your relationship. Some long-term couples just assume the risk of eventual transmission and decide to engage in unprotected sex anyway. Other couples, however, resort to protected sex to safeguard their health.

If your partner has a bad reaction to your confession, you should them give some space. Try referring them to an alternative source of information such as a good website or a clinic where they can talk to someone in person.  They might just need a little extra time to assimilate the information and understand what it means for them personally. And if they can’t handle the information or want out, then it’s better for you to learn sooner rather than later.

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