There are a lot of people that know a lot about sex, but know almost nothing about sexually transmitted diseases. For example, did you know that most STD’s are asymptomatic, and that you may never know you have one until you get a blood panel taken for something else?
Or did you know that you’re supposed to get tested every six months if you have more than one sexual partner, or a partner that hasn’t previously been tested?
We know that this isn’t a conversation that people like to have, but that doesn’t make it any less necessary. We need to take control of our health, and that does not entail leaving it up to your partner. You need to get tested and always, always practice safe sex. Your health is your responsibility and your responsibility alone.
And we cannot be afraid to ask. Just as it is necessary to obtain consent, it should be just as necessary to make sure that you are not putting yourself at risk. Asking your partner when the last time that they were tested is not ruining the moment if you don’t let it. But it is taking control of your health.
That being said, we need to stop the stigma behind getting tested. It does not say anything about how often you have sex or your lifestyle to get tested, and it should be admired and respected to ask a partner if they’ve been screened.
If that test does come back positive, know that there are options. There are cures and management plans, and that you are obligated to inform future sexual partners. Let’s all do our part to make sex less risky.