Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are normal, treatable and most are curable—even so talking to your partner about your STI status could feel a little unnerving or uncomfortable.
Here are some tips on how to start a conversation about STI status with your partner:
1.) Think About What You Want to Say
If you’re nervous about the conversation, try practicing in the mirror. Think about what you’d like to say and practice saying the words out loud. It could also be helpful to think about some of the possible ways your partner may respond, and how you would like to react to those responses.
2.) Make Time for the Conversation
If possible, try to have the conversation when you both have enough time to fully explore the situation. Pick a setting where you both feel safe to share your feelings and where you know you will have privacy or won’t be interrupted.
3.) Remind Yourself That You’re Doing the Right Thing
Be gentle with yourself. Keep in mind that getting tested for STIs is a way of not only caring for your own health, but for your partner’s as well. While this conversation might be challenging, sharing information about a recent STI diagnosis with your partner shows that you care about them, their safety, and their well-being.
4.) Offer Resources
In a healthy relationship, it’s important that people feel comfortable being open and honest with one another. Try to create space for your partner to participate in the conversation. They may have some questions that you are unable to answer, connecting them to a resource, like your local Planned Parenthood, can be a great way for them to get their questions answered.
5.) Talk About Next Steps
During this conversation it could be helpful to let your partner know which STI you tested positive for and what the next steps will look like for you. For instance, if you are receiving treatment like antibiotics and need to abstain from sexual activity to avoid passing the infection to them–this may be helpful information for your partner to know. If there is a chance that the STI may have spread to your partner, it’s also a good idea to encourage them to get tested so they know their own status.
Get Yourself Tested
Talking about STIs with others may feel like an overwhelming task, but you don’t have to do it alone. For more information about STI testing and treatment, reach out to your local Planned Parenthood or visit the Planned Parenthood website at PlannedParenthood.org/learn.