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Talking to your partner about getting tested for STIs

The best time to talk about getting tested is before you start having sex. Getting tested with a new partner is super important and one of the best ways to prevent STIs.

It can feel awkward to bring up conversations on STI testing, but it’s important and you will probably feel better once you get it over with. Talking about getting tested not only shows you care about your partner, but it can even make you closer.

Here are few suggestions on how to handle this important conversation.

  • Before You Talk

First, know the facts- Learn everything you can about STIs. Knowing the facts will make you feel more confident and help you answer your partner's questions.

Know what you want from the conversation- make it clear that both of you need to get tested before you start having sex.

If you think it will be hard to talk, figure out why. Are you just embarrassed or shy? Or is it something more? Thinking about what makes it hard for you to talk about STIs can help you prepare. If you're shy, for example, putting your thoughts in writing or text and sending it to your partner might be easier for you.

Plan what to say- Good planning can make a hard talk easier. You can't script your conversation word for word, but you can prepare by writing down the most important points so you don't miss anything. Bring your notes with you in case you forget what you wanted to say. 

Look up a nearby location: You also can prepare by looking up nearby places to get tested. Find a clinic near you here (link to clinic finder on one2one).

  • ‘The Talk’ - 6 tips 
  • Pick a good time to talk- Find a quiet space where you can chat without being interrupted. Don't wait until you're about to have sex — this conversation is easier to have with your clothes on. Plus, talking about STIs in the heat of things can lead people to make decisions they might regret later.
  • Be bold to start the conversation-Take charge. Don't wait for your partner to bring up getting tested. You may even find they are relieved that you started the conversation first. Nervousness is normal, so speak up! You could start by saying something like, "We've talked about having sex and I think I'm ready. I want to be able to relax and enjoy it, and I won't unless I know we're tested against STIs."
  • See how your partner responds- After you introduce the topic, pause to hear what your partner says. If there's no response, be direct and ask what they think. This lets you figure out if you're in agreement about things and if you're not, you can talk about it more. 
  • Say you'd like to go together to get tested-Tell your partner about where you can go to get tested. You could say “‘Let’s get tested together. I know a clinic nearby.”
  • Listen to your partner's point of view- Being a good listener shows respect. Listening also gives you clues to what your partner thinks. If your partner is reluctant to get tested you may want to consider whether this is a person you want to be in a relationship with. After all this is about your health.
  • Be calm and present your case in a factual way- Taking in a factual way can help you avoid sounding like you're judging or accusing.

Hopefully your partner will decide that your decision makes perfect sense – but in case your partner doesn’t agree, stay firm on your position and don’t give in. 

Also, if your partner seems not to care about protecting his or her health, maybe you should reconsider if you want to keep dating them.

Did you learn something?

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