Confessing that you have an STD is no easy feat. After all, the shame that goes with the stigma can make it hard for people to even broach the subject with past, present and future lovers.
In just the past two years alone, the number of young adults with an STD has increased by 500,000. This is definitely something to consider, which is why talking to partners is key in controlling the spread of STDs.
If you’re going to start dating again and have an STD, there are some helpful tips to help you with the difficult tasks of telling your significant other.
If you’re currently being treated for a curable STD such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, you can wait to have sex and don’t need to bring the topic into the relationship. If you know that their health won’t be at risk once you’ve finished your course of antibiotics and test negative for the STD again, there’s no reason to bring it up.
If your partner wants to have sex, just let them know you’d rather wait until you get to know each other better before you have sex.
Most people don’t tell everything about themselves on the first date. After all, you could be on a date and realize that you have no chemistry with this person. Why share something so intimate with them if they’re only going to be friends?
However, once people get their feelings involved, it’s time to broach the subject with them. Only do this if you feel the relationship could bud into something even deeper. Be aware for some people an STD is deal-breaker, and they could decide it’s too much for them.
Be sure to state facts about your STD without portraying yourself as the victim. You just need to tell them the truth and not be ashamed that you have the disease. If you get defensive, your partner may get judgmental. The disease is not who you are.
Now, you may be worried about their friends – what if they tell them? Most people keep that kind of things to themselves but may share it with a close confidant to help them understand the situation.
When talking to your other half about the disease, be sure to let them know how it will affect your sex life and how you can decrease the transmission rate. For herpes, you can reduce their chances of getting it by using condoms and taking antiviral medications. Be sure specific information is shared with them.
Expecting an immediate answer is a bad thing for you – it’s not going to happen. Give them the facts, allow them to process it and let them know you hope they want to see you again too. Immediate reactions are only done out of duty or fear.
Many people make the mistake of giving the background details of their STDs. However, this is the last thing you should do. The best thing is to be as brief and factual as possible without providing them the how and why and where you got the disease. In reality, it’s not really their business to know all that. If they ask, you can share it if you want.
Written by Mark Riegel, MD
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