You shouldn’t wait to tell your current or potential partner about your sexually transmitted disease (STD) status. Even though STDs are common, many people have a tough time talking about them. One of the challenges of dating is figuring out how and when to discuss things like your sexual history, your STD status, and safer sex.
It’s perfectly okay to turn to a health care provider for guidance. Here at Patel and Patel, OB/GYN, Kiran Patel, MD, and family medicine physician, Leela Patel, MD, want patients to know that you can rely on the knowledge and expertise of medical professionals to answer questions about sexual and and provide the guidance and care you need to take care of your sexual and reproductive health.
In this blog, we discuss some tips to help you feel comfortable and empowered in navigating your sexual health.
Why are STDs difficult to talk about?
There’s a lot of misinformation and stigma surrounding STDs. While this makes them uncomfortable to talk about, it’s necessary for every sexually active person to discuss STDs with their partner. STIs are very common. Approximately one in five people have an STD, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Telling your partner that you have an STD is difficult, even if you know it’s the right thing to do. Rejection is the primary fear and reason cited for why people find themselves hesitant to discuss their STD status with their partner. You may feel embarrassed or might not know that your STD is contagious. Even if you’ve never had symptoms, if you have an STD, it is vital to talk to your partner about it.
When is the right time to discuss your STD status?
Many people report failing to find the right time to tell their partner about their STD status. It’s always best to talk about STDs before you and your partner first become intimate. The conversation may be difficult, but discussing safe sex is a responsible step in protecting your and your partner’s sexual health.
Once you feel that your relationship is headed toward sexual intimacy, have a face-to-face discussion. This isn’t the sort of thing that’s best discussed over the phone or via text message.
What should you say about your STD status?
Honesty is the best policy when it comes to talking about your STD status. If you’ve been diagnosed with herpes, or another STD, tell your partner exactly that. Explain what your sexual status means and how it affects your intimate relationships.
For example, if you have herpes, this may mean discussing whether you have active lesions and steps you will take to reduce the risk of transmitting herpes to your partner. If you take antiviral medication, it’s okay to tell your partner that too. Sharing important information such as this ensures that your partner isn’t misled and knows the facts.
Listening to your partner
After you explain your STI status, it’s important to listen to your partner, answer any questions, and address any concerns. Trust is a crucial part of an intimate relationship. Honesty and openness build trust and help to get your relationship off to a good start. Most people who find out that their partner has an STI are accepting and choose to continue the relationship.
Seeking help from a medical professional
Couples can always make an appointment to see a health professional together. Some couples find reassurance in discussing STDs with their partner at their doctor’s office. Answering questions about STDs and helping patients understand the facts is part of our services as an OB/GYN and family medicine physician.
If you have questions about STDs, or need STD screening, and for all other OB/GYN services, we’re here to help. You’re in compassionate, expert hands when you choose Patel & Patel as your health care provider. To schedule a visit and to discuss our services call our team at our South Charleston, West Virginia office or send your request online today.