How to Ask Your Partner to Get Tested

 

Asking a partner to be tested for STI's can be a very difficult conversation. It is a sensitive subject for most and may result in hurt feelings or other emotions. Some may take the request the wrong way and assume their partner believes they are dirty or sleep around. However, if a person clearly communicates the reasons for wanting their partner to be tested, and get tested with their partner, the conversation may go a lot smoother. A person may demonstrate that they are looking out for the safety of themselves and their partner.

 

The best time to discuss getting tested for STI's is BEFORE engaging in sexual activity. It is also important to share your sexual history with a new partner, so they are aware that you have had sexual relations with other partners in the past. It is not necessary to discuss exact numbers of sexual partners, since being tested ensures you are STI-free. Although it is important to tell a partner if you have or have had an STI in the past. Once you have talked about your past sexual history, it is important to explain that in order to make sure you are both safe, it is a great idea to go get tested together.

 

First, offer to get tested yourself. This will help your partner to see that you value your own sexual health as well as your partners. It is important to remember that it takes up to six months for symptoms of some STI's to appear (such as HIV), so tests may not be fully accurate if you or your partner have not abstained from sexual activity for at least six months. This means you must use condoms or other barrier methods when engaging in sexual activities that may put you at risk for contracting an STI until six months has passed and you both have tested.

 

Even if a person is not in a relationship, they still may have sexual partners. It is important for a person to ask any new partner, relationship or not, when the last time they were tested was. To ensure they do not feel offended, let them know the last time you were tested first. If you do not trust the person's answer, it may not be a good idea to engage in sexual activity with them in the first place. Remember to use condoms or other barrier methods (STI's may still be transmitted through oral sex for lesbian couples) to reduce your risk of contracting an STI.

 

Real ways that individuals have asked their partners to get tested for STI's:

 

I informed my new boyfriend that I have this policy about when I date guys. Before I take any sexual risks we both wait until six months after our last sexual encounter and get tested together so that we are safe. I try and make sure that my partner knows that I am not trying to convey that I think he is dirty, or anything I am just ensuring that we are being safe. It also helps that I tell him this is what I do with every potential partner, this way he feels that I am not singling him out. 
- Anne

 

When I asked my girlfriend to get tested for an STI, I actually offered to get tested first myself. I thought that if I told her that I wanted to get tested so that we could be sure that we are safe, she would feel more comfortable when I asked her to come with me and suggested we both get tested together. She did not take it offensively and seemed happy to know that I cared about her safety not only my own. 
- Matt

 

Last Updated 13 February 2012

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