Communication is necessary when you are in a partnership or having casual sex. You need to communicate when you both feel comfortable having sex, how you decide to do it, and what protection you use, it is also necessary to communicate if there becomes a health-related issue. Sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STD or STI) can be common once you become sexually active. It is important to practice safe sex and you should consider discussing sexual health with any new partner in order to prevent the risk of STIs. Talking about STIs and STDs can be difficult and stressful, but it is important to have the conversation, for their safety and yours.
Know the facts
If you test positive for an STD or STI, learn the facts so you can have an informed and honest conversation.
Ask your doctor questions about the best way to talk to your partner so you can be better prepared to answer any questions your partner may have. Here are some questions you may want to ask your doctor:
•What STI have I contracted, and what are the symptoms and side effects?
•What medication will I be on, and how can my partner receive treatment?
•Do I need to abstain from sex, for how long?
•What are some things I can do to prevent STDs and STIs in the future?
If you have multiple sexual partners, you will have to share this information with each of them. It is important to be tested for STIs regularly, especially after each new partner. Sharing the number of partners, you have had with your gynecologist is important. Your doctor is looking to help you maintain sexual and reproductive wellness, being open and honest is a cornerstone to good health.
Plan what you will say
Prior to your conversation, decide what you would like the outcome to be.
•Would you like to be in an exclusive relationship?
•If you do not want to be exclusive, would you like you and your partner to agree to test yearly, or more?
•How do you expect them to support you, or how you will support them in dealing with a positive diagnosis?
•Consider discussing if you need to have changes in the protection you are using, have you or will you use condoms in the future?
While these topics can be challenging, knowing what you want to come from it will also help you figure out the best way to engage your partner in the discussion, and it will pay off for both of you in the future.