I'm dating again after a long marriage and wondering how to ask a new partner if he's been tested for sexually transmitted infections. Any tips?
A. That's a thorny issue for many people who've re-emerged on the dating scene after a lengthy, monogamous relationship. But discussing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) early in a new relationship is absolutely crucial to protecting both partners' health, since learning if either of you is infected can prevent the disease from spreading.
Don't count on noticing signs alerting you to STIs, which include genital herpes, hepatitis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, pubic lice, human papillomavirus (HPV), or HIV/AIDS. Many STIs don't produce symptoms, and people can pass them to others without realizing they have one.
Ideally, start a conversation with your partner about STI testing during a private, nonsexual moment, and frame it in a way that makes it clear you're being proactive about your health. Suggest getting tested together — at a doctor's office, urgent care center, or pharmacy-based health clinic, for example — or testing separately and sharing results before becoming intimate. Disclosing STI status is an important step in establishing a trusting partnership.
Image: © champja/Getty Images
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.