It’s not an easy subject to discuss and there is still some stigma attached to telling someone you have a sexually transmitted infection. However, these are conversations that we need to get used to having as STIs are common, especially among young people.
We are never taught to openly discuss such things, but it’s essential to look after ourselves and those we care about. The stigma attached to such infections prevents people from seeking help, continues the spread of infection and negatively impacts the health of many people.
If you have recently found out that you have a sexually transmitted infection or suspect that you might have one, you are probably wondering how on earth to broach the subject with your partner. Here are some helpful tips:
- Get tested
Many people have an STI with no symptoms at all so it’s possible to live with an infection for many months, even years. The only way to know is to get tested and encourage your partner to get tested too. It’s a good idea to do this at the start of any new relationship, a few months into the relationship and practice safe sex between these times. Whilst not easy to broach, it’s important to talk about your sexual history and agree on how to practice safe sex. For Chlamydia testing kits Bexley, visit bexleysexualhealth.org/home_sti_kits
- If the test is positive
Firstly, not everything you read about STIs is true or accurate so beware of carrying out internet searches. Do your research from trusted searches and find out about possible symptoms, treatments and how the infection can be transmitted.
- Talk to your partner before sex
Don’t bury your head in the sand and have the conversation before you next have sexual relations, and this includes oral and anal sex as well. If you have oral herpes, this will include kissing too. This applies whether your relationship is serious or casual. Your partner deserves to be able to make an informed decision about the risk.
- Think about how you will communicate
If you want to do it face-to-face, make it a place where you feel comfortable and at ease. Make it somewhere you can leave easily if the person’s reaction is negative or angry. Perhaps you would feel more comfortable phoning, messaging or using video chat? A lot will depend on the type of relationship you have with the person or ex-partner.
- Prepare what you will say
Give this some consideration but a lot will depend on the person. You might want to get straight to the point, or you might want to spend more time with the person before letting them know. Be prepared for their possible reactions and provide them with as much information as possible so they don’t worry or get upset unnecessarily. Despite their initial reaction, the only wrong thing to do is not to tell them at all. They might even thank you for being open and honest, if you reassure them that you’re looking out for their health and wellbeing.