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When and How to Share your STD Status

Published on April 9th, 2017

Sharing your STD status isn’t like sharing your favorite movie or dining spot; it requires both vulnerability and confidence. While letting a potential sexual partner know you have an STD is never an easy conversation, there are a few ways to make it more comfortable for both of you:

  1. Timing: Have the conversation early in your relationship, but not on the first date. Get to know someone and if you feel like things are progressing toward sex, prepare yourself to share this information.
  2. Where and When: Choose a time and place that is private and comfortable. This could be while taking a hike or walk together or while making dinner at your home. Whenever you decide to share your status, it should not be in the middle of intimate contact. It’s better to talk about STD status when you both are calm and ready to talk.
  3. Planning: Your partner might have a lot of questions about your STD. Anticipate his or her questions so you can answer them. It might also help you to write out what you want to say and rehearse it before you talk with your partner.
  4. Set the tone: By sharing this information in a calm, reassuring, and straightforward manner, you will set the tone for the conversation. After you’ve said what you need to say, listen to your partner. Answer his or her questions as best you can and know that if you exhibit graciousness, it’s likely they will too.
  5. Honor yourself: No matter how the conversation goes, you should know you did something that took courage. Many people do not know their STD status or are scared to share it. By doing so, you are helping others make informed choices about their health.

Sharing your STD status is never easy, especially if you have an STD, such as HPV, HIV, or herpes, that does not have a cure. However, by doing so, you are taking care of your sexual and emotional well-being as well as that of your partner. You are also helping remove the stigma surrounding STDs, which is crucial to helping people establish safe sexual practices. No matter what happens, take comfort in making a brave and honest choice.

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