I take my emotions out of the equation, hit “send” or say my piece, and leave it there. Most of the time, partners and potential dates are grateful for the disclosure, and we have a discussion. That’s a positive sign in my dating book. Sometimes, they get weird about it or invoke a no-STD policy (usually imposed by another partner which, by the way, reeks of couples’ privilege). I get that there’s fear surrounding STIs, and fear often triggers rejection. The stigma is very real.
“Be sure to answer your partner(s) questions,” Hall said. “Talk about the medications you currently take to treat your STD and the necessary precautions that can be taken to reduce transmission (e.g., condoms & PrEP) if you both decide to have sex. Be honest about your experiences and provide some resources they may need to make informed decisions.”
Since an estimated 50 percent of sexually active Americans will contract an STD by the time they turn 25, this is an important conversation. It’s imperative to tell a partner about an STD before you become sexually intimate. Sure, I’ve had situations where it’s had to be an on-the-spot conversation due to the impromptu nature of the hookup. It's not ideal, but at least it happens before we’re naked.
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“Sharing something so personal can be really difficult; however, when telling your partner about your STD, it's important to be upfront and honest. While you are not your STD, this not the time to downplay it or dismiss it as something small,” says Hall.
I get that there’s this gawd-awful stigma surrounding STIs and that people think they’re undateable - and unfuckable - if they've been diagnosed with one. In my experience, that's rarely the case. Sure, some people will reject a partner upon such a disclosure, but I believe it comes from a place of ignorance and shitty societal attitudes. The stigma itself is far worse than the infection.
“With condoms and advances in medications, some may believe disclosure is not necessary,” Hall said. “However, informing your partner(s) of your STD allows them to make the necessary decisions regarding their sexual health and well-being. This is an opportunity that we should not take from anyone, if possible.”
Once you've disclosed your STD and dealt with whatever reaction you receive, the best you can do is practice safer sex, get tested regularly, and continue to communicate with new and current partners.
“Feel confident and responsible in your choice to disclose knowing that there is someone out there who will love you regardless,” Hall said.