For some, a trip to the clinic for STI testing is as regular a part of their health routine as going to the doctor for a check-up. For others, it seems embarrassing, like they will be judged. Let me begin this by saying that is far from the truth. You will not be judged, or looked down upon by the medical professional that is carrying out your test, and everyone should get screened at some point.

That being said, not everyone does get themselves screened. So how can you know if your new partner has been tested? The best way is to ask. We know this can be a difficult conversation to have, so I would like to provide you with these 5 tips on how to initiate the conversation:

1.) Have the conversation early on. This is best to do before you have sex for the first time, but realistically should be done within the first few weeks of sexual activity.

2.)  Use language you’re comfortable with. Be conversational and don’t worry yourself about using the proper terminology or formalities.

3.)  Be as direct as possible. It is important to be forward and courageous with this and open up with the direct question. This may catch your partner off guard for a moment, but will be much easier than lagging to get to the point. (Think about how much easier it is to jump into a cold lake than to slowly stroll in.)

4.)  Stress that you care for your own and your partner’s health, and you believe that these conversations are an important part of any relationship. Make sure they know why you are having the conversation and that it is not an attack on them. This talk could generate further trust in your relationship.

5.)  Pick a time and place where you won’t be interrupted or disturbed, and when you’re not sexually engaged. This may not be the best conversation to have when things are getting hot and heavy, make sure you are in a comfortable environment like your home and have the conversation when the two of you are alone.

What next?

There are a few results that can come from this conversation:

One may be that they have not been tested, if this is the case why not offer to go to the clinic with them and each of you can have a test done at the same time.

Perhaps it is found that your partner does in fact have an STI. In this case, do not worry as many STI’s are very treatable and avoidable. This is however an important place to keep the conversation going and find out how to protect yourself from the infection.

Have you had this talk with your partner?

By The STIntern