Should I Ask For an STD Test Before Sex?

Many people have different views and opinions on asking for an STD test before sex. However, there’s only one real answer to the question, ‘should I ask for an STD test before sex?’. 99% of the time, the answer is a resounding ‘yes!’. Here, we’ll discuss a number of different situations. We’ll also discuss when you should ideally get tested, and when you may not need to worry so much. The important thing to remember is that STD’s are easily spread, and you don’t always know that you have them. Neither does your partner. If they haven’t been tested for a while but they’ve been sexually active, there’s a good chance they’ve picked something up. STDs don’t always come with symptoms. The sooner you are checked out and treated, the better. Read on to learn more:

More About STDs

STDs diagnoses are on the rise. A large number of people are at risk of contracting some of the more common STDs, such as Chlamydia. However, many are still at risk of contracting more serious STDs, such as HIV. Although treating most STDs can be fairly simple, having them for a long time can cause problems with things like pregnancy and fertility. It isn’t just young, carefree people who are at risk either, despite popular belief. Older people are also at risk, particularly those who are going through difficult things, such as divorce. Maybe you decided to throw caution to the wind and take a risk. Studies show that there are around 20 million new STDs in the U.S. each year. This makes it crucial to be smart and take care of your sexual health more vigilantly than ever. The only time you likely won’t need to get tested or to ask your partner to get tested, is if you’re both virgins. That being said, some STDs can be spread without having full, penetrative sex. You could still have contracted an STD if you’re a technical ‘virgin’.  Knowing the facts will leave you better equipped to know when to get tested and when you are safe.

If You’ve Never Been Tested

If you’ve been having sex but you’ve never been tested, you should definitely get tested for STDs ASAP. Condoms can prevent many STDs, but other forms of contraception do not. If the condom broke, or you experienced any other issues, this is another reason to get checked out. You may have picked something up without knowing it. Getting tested for an STD could potentially save your life, as the longer you have something, the more dangerous it tends to be. Most STDs can be cured with medication, but even for those that can’t, there are things that can help you to manage it.

The earlier you find out and treat an STD, the less long term damage it’ll cause. Some untreated STDs can cause serious problems, such as infertility, and even cancer. It doesn’t matter if it happened some time ago; you should still get checked out if you never have been. Even if you don’t have symptoms now, you may develop them in the future. You will still pass the STD on to others without symptoms, too.

Even if you have no plans to have sex anytime soon, getting checked is important for your own health and well-being. If you are sexually active, it’s equally as important.

When you decide to get tested, make sure you discuss everything in as much detail as possible with a doctor or sexual health professional. Answer their questions to the best of your ability. You should know what tests you are having and what they look for, too. Don’t automatically assume that you are being tested for everything. A general checkup won’t usually detect STDs.

If You Have A New Partner

If you have a new partner or meet a potential new partner, thinking about STD testing is crucial. If you want to begin having sex right away, you should use condoms. You should only stop using condoms when you know for sure that you’re both free of STDs. Better yet, you should wait until you have both been checked and cleared before having sex at all. The only way to be 100% sure that you are both safe, is to get tested. Staying safe emotionally and physically is important. STDs can affect you emotionally, as well as physically. Using a condom is crucial each time you have sex with a new person. Even if you know you’re in the clear, the other person may not be. You are both at risk of passing something back and forth if you fail to use protection.

But how do you ask your new partner to get tested, without offending them or ruining what you have? Many people wonder this, and find it can be tricky. You must remember that this request is perfectly reasonable and very sensible. When you sleep with a new person, you are in theory sleeping with all of their past partners too. Even with that in mind, it’s easy for a partner to misinterpret what you’re trying to say when you tell them that you want them to get checked out. They may get offended if you don’t word things carefully. You don’t want it to seem like you’re attacking them, or insinuating that they’ve been sleeping around. You could start by telling them that you want to reassure them about yourself, and that you’ve been tested and given a clean bill of health (only if you have been, of course). Hopefully, they’ll take this a cue to offer to get tested, or show you that they have been already. If you don’t feel like you’re close enough to bring this up right now, ensure you always use a condom if you must have sex. If this person is good for you, then they should respect your wishes. Remember, your sexual health is so much more important than feeling embarrassed for a little while. Bad choices regarding sex can follow you around forever.

You need to remember that this has nothing to do with just ‘trusting’ a person. If they try to get at you emotionally by asking you why you don’t trust them, you should walk away. If they are unwilling to get tested, they obviously don’t care about your well-being, or their own. This is a sign that they are either too immature to have sex, or they’re no good for you.

If You’ve Been Contacted With News

In the event that a partner gets tested after they’ve slept with you, you may be contacted with news of an STD. Usually, you will give the names of the people you may have passed an STD on to when you test positive, and you will be contacted so you can go and get tested yourself. It doesn’t automatically mean that you have an STD, but there’s a chance if you didn’t use protection or something went wrong. Going to get tested ASAP is crucial. If you’ve slept with anybody since the person in question, you’ll need to contact them so they can get tested too. You may be able to give names and numbers to your doctor/clinic and they may contact the person/people for you. It’s so important that you’re honest in an event such as this, as you may be putting other people’s health at risk.

Potential Symptoms Of an STD

Although you may not necessarily experience symptoms that indicate you have a problem, there’s a chance you will. The symptoms can come on at any time. It may even take months for you to experience symptoms. Just because you haven’t experience symptoms yet, doesn’t mean damage hasn’t been done. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it’s a sign that there is something wrong. You should get checked out ASAP:

  • Bleeding either during or after sex.
  • A rash.
  • Itching.
  • Blisters or sores on the genital area.
  • Pain during sex.
  • Pain when going to the toilet.
  • Strange discharge from the penis or vagina.
  • A strange smell.

These symptoms could potentially be due to something else, but you won’t know if you don’t get tested.

When You’ve Been Given A Clean Bill Of Health

When you’ve received treatment for an STD, you will need to be tested again to ensure that the treatment has been effective. When you’ve been given a clean bill of health, it’s crucial that you take preventive measures so that nothing like this happens in the future.

Safe Sex Every Time

Practice safe sex each and every time you have sex. Learn from the past or past scares and don’t leave things to chance.

Don’t Be Embarrassed

Don’t be embarrassed to request that your partner get tested. If you feel confident enough to have sex with them, you should feel confident enough to ask them to get tested. Don’t be embarrassed when it comes to having your own tests either. Sexual health professionals have seen it all before, and likely much worse!

Regular Tests

If you’re sexually active, it’s crucial that you have regular tests. The people you sleep with is entirely your choice. You don’t have to explain yourself, ever. As long as you’re mentally healthy, you should be able to do whatever makes you happy. However, taking regular tests is the only smart thing to do. Having multiple partners is your prerogative, but that gives you even more reason to have regular tests. This will give you peace of mind.

Have Sex Only Within A Monogamous Relationship

Having sex only within a monogamous relationship greatly reduces your risk of getting an STD. When you’ve both been given the all clear, only having sex with one another is a great way to avoid introducing new STDs into the relationship. However, you should be honest with yourself as to whether the relationship is truly monogamous. Do you know that your partner is committed to you and only you? If you have a bad feeling, it could be a good idea to get tested again yourself, and perhaps speak with them about your concerns. Bear in mind that becoming suspicious of them for no particular reason could indicate that you have your own issues to work through.

Look To The Future

Be honest with yourself about what you plan to do when you go out with friends, for instance, How far are you willing to go? What do you feel comfortable with? This can help you to stay on track. You could even tell friends, or write it on your hand to ensure you stick to your plan. Whatever your plans are, staying prepared is important. Keeping condoms on you and at your place is a good precaution to take. You can’t always expect the other person to have them.

Steer Clear Of Drink And Drugs

Drink and drugs can seriously lower inhibitions and make you do things that you wouldn’t usually do. They can also leave you susceptible to sexual assault. Although this is never your fault, it only makes sense to control what you put into your body so you can be aware of what is going on around you. It’s all too easy to drink too much. Make sure you know your limits and have a soft drink or water in between each alcoholic drink to ensure you don’t get too drunk. Avoiding any kind of drug is always a good idea!

Never Feel Pressured

You should never feel pressured to do anything with a person if you don’t want to. You’re under no obligation to do anything with anybody, no matter how long you’ve been seeing them. Get comfortable with saying no. Make sure you’re firm about it too.
STD testing needs to become the norm if we’re all going to crackdown on new sexual diseases. Taking our sexual health seriously is the first step to doing this. You might be scared to ask or even go through with it, but nothing is scarier than having to deal with an incurable STD for the rest of your life.