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Many women follow preventive healthcare guidelines by visiting a gynecologist each year for an exam and Pap smear. Unfortunately, even when women are generally proactive about their health, it’s all too easy to avoid discussing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) with a partner. Often, the question isn’t raised until after a partner begins to notice symptoms and schedules testing at a women’s clinic . If you’ve met a special someone and are anticipating intimacy, it’s best to discuss STDs sooner, rather than later.

Visit Your Gynecologist

If you’ve already been intimate with your partner or you’ve previously had sexual relations with someone else, it’s a good idea to visit your gynecologist. Ask to be tested for STDs. STD testing is easy, affordable, and confidential. After you’ve been tested, you can either share your clean bill of health with your partner or discuss how to keep your partner safe.

Ask a Direct Question

When it’s time to have the conversation with your partner, be open and direct about the issue. Instead of trying to hint that you’re curious about your partner’s sexual health, simply ask if he or she has ever been diagnosed with an STD. If your partner has had prior sexual relations and has never been tested for an STD, you can suggest that he or she get tested. Explain that you’ve been tested to ensure his or her sexual health and that you’d appreciate reciprocity.

Explain Your Health Issues

If your gynecologist did discover that you have an STD, be honest when explaining this to your partner. Explain that you’re undergoing treatment for the infection. Some STDs are curable, while others must be managed with medications.

Agree on Preventive Measures

Even if you’re on another form of birth control, gynecologists strongly recommend the use of condoms. Hormonal birth control such as the pill cannot prevent STD transmission, while condoms can. Explain to your partner that it’s important to you that condoms are used to protect the health of each partner .

Women throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia can find comprehensive gynecology and family planning services at Washington Surgi-Clinic. Our gynecologists offer affordable testing for STDs, including herpes, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. If you wish to schedule an appointment at our women’s clinic, please call (202) 659-9403.