Having the STI talk between a couple is the smart thing to do and it can really put you at ease. It also helps to avoid a lot of unnecessary blame.
We can understand why many people find that awkward as you are afraid that you might in some way be accusing someone if you bring up STIs.
It’s not like you’re only asking them to get tested, you are getting tested too conferring them that reassurance that you are also healthy from an STI point of view.
Never assume that if your partner had an STI in the past that they would bring it up with you. The whole point is that in real time and in the current moment, do they or you currently harbor or carry an STI that the both of you might not even be aware of?
Remember testing for STIs all have a window period meaning it takes a couple of weeks or months for some STIs to show up in a test. For an STI test to be absolutely representative and accurate of your STI status now, you should not have any unprotected intercourse be it oral, vaginal or anal after the testing. If you did then you’ll need another test at an appropriate time.
So here’s some tips on how to open a conversation around STI testing.
How you open it would depend obviously on where you are in your relationship with the other person.
You are in a relationship with someone and you have not had sex with each other yet
If you have never been tested and you’ve not sure if your partner has:
“I’m a little nervous to talk to you about this. I feel this is important. The way our relationship is going, it seems like we might have sex soon. I feel it’s a good idea for both of us to get tested for STIs. What do you feel?”
If you have recently tested and you would like your partner to get tested too:
“I feel we might have sex soon and I took the step to get myself tested for STIs. I would like to share my results with you. When was the last time you got tested?”
Go ahead share your results or any treatment for STIs you have received and when that happened.
You’ve already had sex with your partner but it’s always been protected with a condom and now you wish to go condomless:
“We’ve been having sex with a condom and using even protection during oral sex. I feel ready now to have sex with you without protection. Just to be safe, I feel we should both get tested first before we are going to stop using condoms. How do you feel about that?”
You’ve already been having sex without protection but now you’re considering getting tested just to be sure:
“I know we haven’t been using protection, but if we’re going to keep doing that, we should get tested so that we can really enjoy it safely.”
Now if shocks and horrors happen and your partner becomes resistive to testing, then consider the following:
If your partner is not thinking about what you need for you to be comfortable in this sexual relationship then alarm bells should be ringing. Explain to your partner that this is not a matter of trust, and that in doing the test you are looking out for both yours and their health. Ask them why they are against getting tested. If they are still resistive, then you need to think whether this relationship is worth sustaining.