Updated: Feb 10
Why is getting tested important?
If you've had unprotected sex (sex without the use of a condom, dental dam, or another barrier method), you could be at risk of contracting an STI.
Some STIs don't cause symptoms right away (or at all), and some common symptoms of STDs (bumps around your genitals, vaginal/penile discharge, itching, or pain in your genitals) can have other causes completely unrelated to sexual encounters.
The only way to know for sure that you do (or don't) have an STI is to get tested.
Generally, this means once per year if you're sexually active. If you're in an at-risk group, such as MSM (men who have sex with men) or those who use injection drug equipment, you may want to consider getting tested more frequently (every 3-6 months).
How do I talk to my partner about getting tested?
The best way to discuss getting tested is to be open and honest.
Voice your need to get tested together early on, preferably before you have any type of sex with them. It may feel awkward or uncomfortable, but you'll feel better having had the conversation once you make the push.
Consider getting tested together.
Going to get tested means acknowledging the possibility that you could have an STI, which can be daunting. However, having the support of your partner in doing so may help ease your nerves.
Make sure to remain steadfast.
If your partner isn't receptive to getting tested, let them know that it doesn't mean you don't trust them or that anyone cheated, you want to do it for your own health and for theirs.
We recommend watching Planned Parenthood's video on discussing STD testing with your partner:
What if my partner doesn't want to get tested?
The most important thing to remember is that your body is YOUR body.
If you care about your sexual health and your partner doesn't respect your concerns, this can spell major trouble for your relationship with them moving forward. Question whether or not it's worth it to engage with someone who doesn't care about your sexual health or their own. Willingly risking you or your partner's sexual health isn't sexy. Peace of mind is sexy.