Best Ways to Ask If He Has an STI
REMEMBER: “If he starts hemming and hawing when you bring it up, that’s reason enough to get on out of there,” says Jeanine B. Downie, a New Jersey dermatologist who has seen patients with STIs. Try these approaches to get the conversation going:
“Straight up now, tell me”
“Baby, if we are going to start and/or continue having sex, then we should know about each other’s sexual health, even if that might involve an STI. I want you to know you can talk to me.”
“We’re in this together”
“I have my annual physical coming up, and the doctor usually asks me if I want to get tested for STIs. Why don’t we get tested together so both of our records are up to date?”
“I read about a woman who caught an STI and I wondered, since we’ve never talked about it, if you’ve ever had one.”
Show and Tell
Show him an imperfection on your skin (like a scar or an ingrown hair), then ask him about something on his body that you’ve noticed: “You know, a lot of skin imperfections can turn out to be signs of an STI. Have you ever had one before?”
License to Love
Thousands of people across the country have signed up with STFree Certifications, a company that stores STI test results for its members. Through the firm, paying members can allow their partners to call an 800 number on the back of their “safe sex license” (a wallet-size photo ID card) and have their status confirmed. “You can build a whole conversation from the process,” says Eli Dancy, founder of the company.
Best Ways to Tell Him You Have an STI
REMEMBER: “Make it very matter-of-fact. Tell your partner without any guilt or shame that you’ve been infected and you know how to deal with it so that you don’t transmit it,” says Hilda Hutcherson, a New York obstetrician– gynecologist. Some ways to word your approach:
The Plain Truth
“Before we get any closer, I want to let you know about a health condition that has affected me. I have HPV (or whatever your infection may be). Here’s how I got it. Here’s how I’m treating it. And here are some ways I can prevent spreading it to you.”
Condoms, or Else
“We need to use condoms because I have an STI, and I care about you and want to make sure I don’t pass it on to you.”
“Have you seen one of these before?” Then show your partner your actual test results or an informational pamphlet concerning the STI you have. “Take a look so we can talk about it. I have this STI and we need to take precautions so I don’t give it to you.”
How To Tell If He Has An STD
Sometimes protecting your sexual health is more about what you see than what your partner is willing to say. There are a few physical cues you can watch for if your partner isn’t forthcoming with information. The visual symptoms below are likely to appear with an active STI. Be on the lookout for them; they can tell you plenty. Send your guy to the M.D. if you notice:
• red sores, blisters or bumps on or near the genitals or rectum. They may be a sign of herpes or syphilis infection.
• genital warts that are cauliflower-shaped, raised or flat, single or multiple, small or large could indicate HPV.
• mouth sores may be a symptom of oral herpes or syphilis.
• a genital discharge that’s yellow and thick can be gonorrhea. One that’s frothy and yellow-green and has a strong odor may be trichomoniasis.
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