Meenal Patel, Licensed Professional Counselor

Sexual Transmitted Diseases, also known as STDs, are more common that one would think. Educating not only yourself, but also your partner about STDs is very important and making sure that both of you are being tested frequently if you have multiple partners, especially in open relationships, polyamorous relationships, LGTBQ individuals.

I would know if my partner had an STD

You might think you know your partner(s) well, but unfortunately you cannot tell just by looking at them if they have an STD or not. You cannot make a judgment call on knowing. The only way you can know if someone has an STD is by getting tested. Asking them when their last testing was and what the doctor had told them. It is always a good idea to get tested when you begin a new relationship.

I trust my partner

It is great to trust your partner and you might always be having safe sex, but trust has a very small amount to do with a STD. Your partner or you (if you have not been tested) might not know they are infected. The stigma of STD is very strong and not many people want to talk about it too due to the fear of losing their partner. Getting checked causes no harm in any relationship.

I do regular check-ups, and my doctor should tell me

Unfortunately, doctors do not do STD testing on your annual check-up. If you want to be tested, you have to inform them. Doctors will very rarely automatically test you due to false assumptions. So, ask them if you want to get tested!

Oral sex isn’t prone to STDs

False. You might not get some STDS, such as HIV, from oral sex, but you can
still get syphilis, gonorrhea, and herpes from oral sex.

Men should be carrying the condoms, not women

Men might be picker on what brand of condoms they prefer using, but that does not mean that they always have them with them. Sex is not always planned and just making sure that you have some condoms for safety is important. Not all stores are open when you might be in a crunch.

I can’t get herpes from someone who does not have any symptoms

Herpes can sometimes become dormant-they are not always active outbreaks. During an active outbreak, the STD is more infectious. But even during the nonactive times, you can still spread/contract herpes. Condoms are suggested to protect yourself.

If I am honest about my herpes, no one will want to date me

Having genital herpes can be very depressing and triggering for an individual and the fear of never having a partner again can be devastating. Being honest with the individual you are talking to and educating them on herpes infection is very important.

Using condoms all the time is unrealistic

Often times people think that they only need to use condom until they know their partner well enough. Individuals use condoms as a contraception, and it is not unrealistic to use them regularly at all. Finding a condom that fits you right and feels the way that you prefer is important.

Lesbians do not need to engage in safe sex or go the OBGYN

Women think that if they are not having sex with a man, then they do not need to practice safe sex. FALSE! Woman can spread numerous STDs to one another in oral sex, manual sex, or even frottage. Safe sex and STD screening should become a part of your annual check-up.

If you are struggling with questions surrounding sexual health practices, feel free to schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation or intake appointment with Meenal Patel, LPC.