Talking With Your Partner About STDs
What's an STD
STD standing for Sexually Transmitted Disease, is exactly how it sounds, a disease that you contract during intercourse. Really though that's not an accurate description because not all STDs are in fact diseases; many are bacterial infections. They are only now starting to classify them in different categories such as STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) which means you did not contract a disease, but were infected by a bacteria such as chlamydia or Gonorrhea.
STDs or STIs are becoming somewhat of an epidemic in many countries around the world. In the US a staggering one in three people have contracted or will contract an STD in their lifetime. One especially in the US that's becoming quite the household name is HPV (human papilloma virus) the cause of Genital Warts. Since Hpv has been linked to cervical cancer and a vaccine was produced the truth about this viral STD has started to show its ugly head. There are many untold facts about this disease including condoms don't effectively protect you from this STD and almost everyone has contracted one strain or another of Hpv and are infected without even knowing it.
Talking With Your Partner About STDs
Whether you have an STD, or are just playing it safe, talking with your partner about STDs and AIDS is extremely important. Nothing can hurt a relationship more than lack of trust, which can easily be obtained by not so much outright lying, but keeping secrets from one another. If you think or know you have an STD you should immediately tell your partner, or for some, partners. It will either end the relationship, which will end up happening soon enough anyway, or make it stronger. Most STD's can be quite dangerous if left untreated and many have no symptoms such as chlamydia or Hpv. If you think you may have an STD go get yourself tested and then if the test is positive sit down with your partner and start explaining what's going on. The main reasons your boyfriend or girlfriend will get upset is because they think you cheated on them (or maybe they cheated on you) or because having an STD can seem socially devastating even though the truth is most people around the world are infected with one STD or another.
How Did I Get This STD? Did My Partner Cheat On Me?
One very common misconception when in a monogamous relationship and someone becomes aware of a sexually transmitted disease or infection, is that so and so must have cheated on me that dirty rotten son of a (well you know). This may or may not be true so I wouldn't attack them right off the bat. Many STDs can stay dormant in your system for months or years without showing any symptoms making an assumption as large as a cheater hard to prove.
Here's a quick list of STDs and their common times of which they usually start to show symptoms.
- HIV/AIDS the longest of sexually transmitted diseases. Six months to years.
- Chlamydia Generally if there are symptoms they will start to show in one to four months.
- Genital Crabs Symptoms cant really be missed and will generally show within a couple of days to a couple of weeks.
- Gonorrhea If there are immediate symptoms they should show up in a two to four month period.
- Genital Warts (HPV) This is a tough one, only certain strains ever even show symptoms and when they do it could be months or years.
- Genital Herpes Herpes could stay dormant for years, but usually shows symptoms around three months after infection.
- Scabies Scabies, which is body lice is hard to miss. Within one month after infection you should see symptoms of these parasites.
- Syphilis Syphilis goes through three different stages which can be hard to sometimes be aware of read here
What Should I Say?
In the end everyone's bodies and immune systems are different so you can't even base your opinions on medical studies because of how different people can be when it comes to showing symptoms of diseases like STDs. So when talking with your significant other about your newly found out medical condition sit them down and be prepared to tell them the facts. If you did cheat on them tell them. They have the right to know and you would want to know as well wouldn't you? Don't accuse them right off, ease into it and see their reaction when you tell them, you might just learn something about this person you never knew. Make sure to tell them that you didn't cheat on them and you could have contracted this STD from a former boyfriend or girlfriend and the symptoms are just now showing up. Make sure they get tested as well so they can get the proper treatment and don't forget that the disease could have remained dormant in their system and you could have contracted the STD through them.