A positive STD test can leave you wondering how your sex life and future relationships might be affected. Maybe you went in for a general health screening and got news you didn’t expect, or maybe you found out the hard way that your partner was unfaithful. Regardless of how or why it happened, you might be wondering what’s next.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s) caused by viruses can be managed by medication, but not cured. These viruses include HIV, herpes, HPV, and Hepatitis B. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) caused by bacteria or parasites can be cured with antibiotics. These bacterial infections include chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis. Pubic lice is also a parasitic infection, but is treated with over-the-counter medication. If you are diagnosed with a bacterial or parasitic STI, your provider may prescribe you with antibiotics and instructions to get retested to ensure the infection is gone or that you haven’t been re-infected. At WISH, we can provide treatment and help you make a plan to stay healthy moving forward. If you are diagnosed with a viral STD, your provider may prescribe medication to help manage symptoms. At WISH, we can prescribe medication and help you make a plan to manage symptoms as well as support you moving forward.
Although receiving a positive viral STD test result can affect future relationships, it does not disqualify you from having a happy and healthy relationship. Honesty and openness are key when it comes to dating with an STD. Yes, you’re allowed to have sex, but it’s important to allow your partner to have a say in the matter. If you are diagnosed with an STI/STD, WISH recommends that you inform all sex partners that you’ve had for the last 90 days. We suggest that they also get tested. In fact, in Idaho you can face felony charges for failing to disclose a positive HIV status to a partner. In Washington, you may be prosecuted if you transfer HIV to another person with the intent to harm.
Regardless of any legal action that can be taken for failure to disclose an STD diagnosis, your health and your partner’s health matters. Having an open and honest conversation with your partner about your STD status is a way for both of you to decide what is best moving forward. If you and your partner both agree to have sex in the presence of an incurable viral infection, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Reduce the risk of contracting or spreading infection or disease.
- For sexually active individuals, the best way to reduce infection or disease is to be in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship after you both have been tested and are free of infection or disease. Correct and consistent condom use every time you have any type of sex can reduce your risk of contracting or spreading STI’s/STD’s. Remember, a condom only protects what it covers. For example, HPV warts, herpes blisters, and syphilis sores can be in areas not covered by a condom.
- Eliminate your risk of contracting something else.
- Did you/your partner get a full screening when you got tested, or did you only get tested for the most common STD’s? You can be infected with an STI/STD without any symptoms, and therefore infect others, so it’s important to get a full screening to ensure you’re both healthy.
- Get tested after every new partner
- There is a risk for contracting an STI/STD with each new partner regardless of whether or not you have symptoms. If you’re sexually active, annual screening might be recommended depending on your situation. Undiagnosed infections can lead to long term complications, such as chronic pain and infertility, especially in women.
Ultimately, your STD diagnosis might affect you but it does not define you. No matter what, you deserve a healthy and happy relationship filled with love and respect. At WISH, we won’t just send you away with a diagnosis. Through our healthy relationship support programs, we can help you navigate the challenges that you might face.
Need to be tested or get relationship support? Schedule an appointment HERE.
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