The Conversation No One Wants But Must Have

Even the closest romantic partners tend to keep secrets from one another. However, one secret that neither can afford to keep from one another is sexually transmitted disease or infection. If one has contracted either such condition, the responsible thing is to tell the other about it. Full truth and trust between partners is the only way to keep the relationship healthy.

Before that first intimate moment, before passion sweeps away both partners in a whirlwind of emotion, a frank discussion of both possibilities and safeguards is necessary. This is not only for self-protection but to protect one’s partner as well. Because one might be “sure” that he or she has never been infected, but things might not be so certain. Many sexually transmitted infections exhibit no symptoms. The worst aspect, of course, is the false confidence this instills and therefore the insidious possibility of further spread of the infection. However, STIs are also more easily identified and treated.

The decision to talk with one’s partner about this subject is always going to be a hard one. This is particularly true if one has a history of disease or infection. For a start, one has to be certain to have updated information not only about diseases but one’s own condition. The responsible partner in a relationship not only undertakes education in the subject but also undergoes testing to confirm the presence or lack thereof of disease or infection. Such discussion must necessarily also include a sexual history, how many previous partners and for how long with each one. A person who has generally practiced monogamy is far less likely to have engaged in risky behavior or to have been put at risk. On the other hand, a partner who has been with multiple partners and therefore less responsible in life is more likely to have been and to be at risk.

As writers for the website and others recommend, the conversation should be held early on, before sexual activity occurs. Once two people wind up in bed with one another, it’s too late to worry about whether one or both might carry a disease or infection. Also, using protection is always a good idea. The willingness of one’s partner to use a condom or other safeguard is an important factor to consider before intimacies are indulged. The person who is not agreeable shows a basic immaturity and should not be trusted.