STDs or sexually transmitted diseases comprise of a group of infections that is transmitted from one person is to another by intimate contact. Even though sexual contact remains the most common way of transmission of this group of diseases and because of which they are known as STDs, they can even be transmitted through non-sexual but close contact with the infected person. It is for this reason that coming clean on your sexual health becomes important when you are dating or in a relationship. But then what is the right time and the right way to tell someone about your STD?
Get your facts right
The first step is to confirm whether you have an STD at all or if the symptoms relate to some other condition. For this you need to see a doctor straightaway who will in turn probably ask you to go through some tests in order to diagnose whether and what type of STD you are suffering from. Once it is confirmed, it is best you start treatment right away. Also find out about your particular STD as much as you can. Ask your doctor about what you can do to get better and how you can protect yourself in future. Go through reliable resources in libraries and on the internet to know more about your condition – its symptoms, treatment, prevention and prognosis. This will not only help you to take better care of yourself but will make it easier for you to answer questions on your STD, should and when you need to reveal it to your partner.
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Back to the past
Around this time it is important to keep in mind that with many STDs the symptoms can take months to present themselves. So you may have to think back about your past partners and who you may have contracted it from. At this stage you have the option of informing about the STD to your former partner(s). Telling your old partners is something you need to do as a courtesy. Go through your phone book and find the numbers of any ex partners to whom the information might be relevant. While relaying this information to an ex may be rather embarrassing, it is also relatively simple as it won't affect your current relationship.
Breaking it to a new partner
No matter how awkward it may seem, telling an old flame about your rashes is nothing compared to the prospect of revealing the fact to a new partner. When and how you do it will normally depend upon the level of your current relationship. If you have just met his person and have gone out once or twice, there is really no need to discuss your private ailments. Of course this holds if only you both are in a non-intimate relationship. Even if you are newly acquainted but suspect that sex is in the air, you need to come clean on your condition. If you have done your research on STDS, you probably already know that certain infections can be transmitted outside of unprotected sex. STDs like herpes can spread from skin contact with sores or blisters on the infected area and as such even intimate contact which may not be genital in nature can also lead to spreading of an STD from an infected to a healthy person.
Even if you have no plans to sleep with a new date, if you have been going out with him/her more than a couple of times, perhaps the thought that you should be honest about your STD may have come to your mind. While you know that until you are physically intimate, you are not going to be putting them at any risk, at the same time though you may feel that you are 'stringing them along' if you are not being entirely honest with them and you suspect that news of your STD would put them off. While each case may be unique, on the whole coming clean about your STD is best determined by the level of your relationship and degree of your condition. In case of the first, if you feel that you and your date are moving onto an intimate level, it may be wiser to tell everything while you are still feeling level-headed rather than when you are already tearing clothes off each other, in which case your partner is bound to feel cheated.
According to the second principle, the worse the STD, the sooner you need to tell a new partner. If it's just something that causes itching and warts for instance, and that you have been told by your doctor would go away after a while, then you can probably reveal the facts before getting intimate and take it from there. On the other hand it is a more serious STD such as syphilis or AIDS, it is best you come clean on the second or third successful date so that you will not be springing it on your date when you come down to having sex besides the fact that he/she will get time to think things through. However don’t be in an undue rush to discuss your STD – even if you have something serious allow yourself a couple of casual, worry-free dates without springing up the topic. Discussing your STD on the very first date will be giving the condition far more importance than it deserves and squash any chances of what might have been a meaningful relationship.
Where a discussion about your STD can become difficult is when you have been dating this person for a long time – supposedly exclusively - without having sex since this would seem to suggest that you have been unfaithful during the relationship. If your STD is the result of your having sex outside of your relationship then this can be a very nerve racking experience as you come clean. However it is again the only option, and while you might think that you could potentially get away without telling you, your partner would eventually be able to notice the symptoms on you, or when they develop the condition themselves. Either way your partner will discover the condition, so it is better to come clean early. Your partner will also be far more likely to forgive you if you were to tell the truth and spare him/her an unpleasant and potentially permanent illness.