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Tips for Talking to a Partner About STDs

Tips for Talking to a Partner About STDs

Let’s face it. The only thing that’s less appealing than having a talk about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is finding out you or your partner has one. And STDs aren’t hard to get. 

Around the world, more than one million STDs are acquired every day, and in the US over 20 million new cases are reported each year with more than half of those impacting teens or young adults under 25. 

Even though having a conversation with a partner about STDs can feel embarrassing or intimidating, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, a short talk could provide you and a partner with protection that could save your lives.     

At Urgent Care of Ada in Ada, Oklahoma, our providers understand that discussing STDs with someone you’re starting a relationship with isn’t easy. We’ve put our heads together to give you our top tips for talking to a partner about STDs. Keep reading to learn what you can do to start this important conversation.   

1. Start with your health 

Before you begin a conversation about STDs with a partner, it’s a good idea to start with your sexual health by getting an STD screening. More than 25 different kinds of STDs exist, each caused by different viruses or bacteria. 

Some STDs don’t cause any noticeable symptoms, making it hard to know if you have one. But if these diseases aren’t treated, they can lead to serious complications and sometimes infertility. 

That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) creates specific STD guidelines to help you understand when you need testing. If you’ve never had an STD test, know that everything is kept confidential between you and your provider.  

2. Do some planning

Although it’s never a good idea to write and follow a script, planning in advance helps make a difficult conversation easier. Jot down the key points you want to cover, and bring them with you so you don’t forget in the middle of your discussion. It’s also a good idea to have a few places where you both can get tested, like Urgent Care of Ada.

3. Choose the best time

One of the best things you can do is talk to your partner about sexually transmitted diseases BEFORE you’re in the heat of the moment. Having the conversation when you both have time to focus on the discussion and not worry about interruptions or an upcoming appointment also helps. 

You may feel awkward bringing up the subject, but you’ll feel better once you’ve had the conversation. Your partner may be just as nervous about bringing it up as you and feel relieved that you started the discussion.   

4. Know it isn’t about trust

Talking about STDs and getting STD testing isn’t a matter of trusting your partner, and it doesn’t mean you think they’ve been unfaithful. Many people have STDs and don’t know it, which is why routine screening is so important.

You can explain to your partner that you want to make sure you’re both healthy because you care about them. You might also consider getting tested together. If you already have your screening results, be ready to share them. This can go a long way toward helping your partner feel comfortable. 

5. Have the facts

Understanding the facts about STDs can make your conversation go more smoothly. Knowing that having an STD doesn’t make you a bad person or “dirty” and that STDs are extremely common can help put you both at ease.

Sometimes these conversations can be emotional, making it difficult for you or your partner to process everything or listen carefully. Having the facts close at hand can help you answer their questions, like a link to the CDC or other sources you’ve found helpful. 

6. Talk about staying safe 

This conversation is a great opportunity to talk to your partner about what you both can do to make sure you stay safe, such as using condoms or other forms of birth control that provide protection against STDs. 

Keep in mind that if you or your partner does have an STD, it doesn’t mean you can’t have an enjoyable sexual relationship. But it does mean that you need to figure out how you can have sex while staying safe.   

7. Be prepared for their reaction

Know that even though STD testing is one of the best ways to protect your health, the decision to get tested and disclose the results of their screening are up to your partner. If they refuse to get tested or won’t share their STD status, you may need to reconsider whether you can safely have a sexual relationship.

For more help or to schedule an STD test, contact the compassionate providers at Urgent Care of Ada. You can call our office to connect, or walk into our urgent care clinic

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