The conversation you need to have with your partner about STIs

November 29, 2023

Entering a new relationship is exciting, but it also requires an important conversation about sexual health and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). STIs like chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis are extremely common, especially among young people, and many people with STIs show no symptoms. That’s why it’s crucial to get tested regularly and talk to your partner before having sex.


Understanding STI screening guidelines and recommendations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides an overview of annual testing guidelines for the most common STIs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, syphilis and other infections. These recommendations can help guide your conversation with your partner about what STI tests to consider and when to get them. Bringing up STI testing can feel uncomfortable, but clear and open communication with your partner is necessary to protect your sexual health.


“Having an open and honest conversation about your sexual history and getting STI tested with a partner also shows how much you care about their health and well-being,” says Irene Cheung, a family nurse practitioner.


The good news is that convenient, confidential screening with Labcorp OnDemand’s Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Trichomoniasis Test can make it much easier to have these important conversations.


How to have the STI talk

First, learn the facts about common STIs, their symptoms and how they can be prevented with safe sex practices.


“Before getting intimate with a new partner, arm yourself with facts, not fear. Understanding common STIs, your risks and how to prevent infection will build confidence to have an open, honest dialogue about sexual health and testing. Think about what you want to say and what information you need from your partner,” says Cheung.


Then, find a private moment to have a transparent discussion with your partner about your sexual histories and boundaries. Reassure them that you want to have this talk so you can both make informed health decisions.


Here are some talking points to consider during your conversation:

  • When were you last tested for HIV and STIs?
  • Do you know if you have any STIs?
  • How do you feel about using protection consistently?
  • Would you be open to getting tested before we have sex?


If you or your partner has tested positive for an STI, be honest about it and discuss treatment options. With the right information and preventative care, STIs don’t have to be a barrier to a healthy relationship. The most important thing is that you feel empowered to communicate your needs and make decisions that protect your sexual health.


Why get tested for STIs?

Getting tested regularly allows you to know your STI status and get treatment if necessary. Many STIs can be treated with antibiotics, but if left untreated, they can lead to long-term health issues like infertility or increased HIV risk. Testing also reduces the chances that you’ll unknowingly pass an infection to a partner.


Know your STI test options

If you feel uneasy about visiting your provider or a clinic for STI testing, Labcorp OnDemand’s Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Trichomoniasis Test allows you to start the process more privately. Simply purchase your test online—no visit required—and stop by a Labcorp location to collect your urine sample when it’s convenient for you. Results are typically available online within a few days.


The beginning of a relationship is the perfect time to set the tone for open communication about sexual health. Purchasing and taking your own STI tests can give you both peace of mind, and you can focus on building your bond. When it comes to protecting your well-being, knowledge is power. Don’t be afraid to speak up and take control of your health.