Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Shuvani Sanyal, MD
Having come across a handful of articles written about how to tell someone you have an STD lately, I thought it helpful to bring them all together in one post along with The STI Project’s previous article sharing how we think it best to tell someone you have an STD. We also wrote about when to tell someone you have an STD, which some of the articles we’re discussing here touch on as well.
We’ve always been a big fan of education and listening to what others have to say about STDs, living with an STI/STD, and approaching STDs ethically and positively. So, it just makes sense to be open to additional perspectives about talking to significant others about having an STD too.
Our way is best, of course, but you don’t have to take our word for it. Just kidding, well, kinda. Actually, what you’ll find is a lot of others have encouraged similar approaches, so, we think that’s a good sign that we’re on the right path and we’re happy to hear other websites are talking about such an important part of living with an STI/STD.
For those of you that like abridged versions, here’s the outline from our previous post:
- Tell them in-person while in a calm and quiet environment – their home could be a good choice
- Be honest about your experiences, be positive about yourself and your STD, let them ask questions, share the facts and figures, and point out some good resources
- Let the person have some alone time to do their own research and to decide how they would like to proceed
- Don’t take their decision personally
The Good Men Project’s Post later Re-Posted on TresSugar
In this post (TresSugar’s version), they do less of outlining exactly how to talk about STDs, but they do a fabulous job of talking about consent, understanding risk, and accepting the individual’s response – especially when it encompasses rejection.
Their perspective on rejection and choice is fresh, pragmatic, and mature – we like all of those things.
Fox News’ Sexpert Weighs In
Although I don’t tend to favor Fox News’ take on a lot of things, in this post, Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright really does an excellent job of breaking down the steps to help you prepare for such a worrisome conversation.
She emphasizes gaining knowledge and understanding on everything there is to know about your particular infection, getting to know your body and how it responds to your infection specifically, and being patient with yourself. She then suggests incorporating the steps we’ve previously discussed.
Way to go Fox News, I have a newfound respect for the information you provide!
WebMD Shares How to Reveal You Have an STD
In this post, WebMD shares a story about a woman who was lucky enough to inadvertently tell her new date about having herpes, because he recognized the pill she took when she gave him Advil for a headache – he also had the virus. Not all people are that lucky, of course.
So, WebMD includes the steps we’ve previously emphasized and also suggests remaining calm and relaxed – knowing you’ve done the right thing and have exuded integrity and courage regardless of their reaction.
MTV’s Campaign It’s Your Sex Life
MTV’s brief post talks about how making a plan can be helpful – whether that be trying out the conversation with a close friend or journaling. They also encourage communication and stress how important it is to tell someone, but not until you’re ready (but before you’ve put them at risk, of course).
They mention writing your partner a letter, but I am not a big fan of that approach. It’s much less personal and it allows and/or can elicit a more negative response, because you’re not there to answer questions, dispel myths and overall, walk them through that initial shock or confusion.
Your Tango Meets Us In the Middle
The beginning of the Your Tango article talks about when to tell someone you have an STD and does a good job of encouraging the conversation before putting your partner at risk but not right away in the relationship, because an STD is not all of you or who you are; it’s just something you’re dealing with that will potentially impact the relationship at some point or another.
From there, they also include the steps we’ve previously discussed: preparing yourself, selecting the appropriate time and place, communicating maturely, and handling negative responses.
My only beef with the article is that you have to open 3 pages to read the entire post – I’m not a fan of articles that make you open multiple pages to get through one article. That being said, this is a great well-rounded and responsible approach to having the STD conversation.
Men’s Health is Questionable
Although I’m not surprised as I’ve recently come across a few articles distributed by Men’s Health which I think further stigmatize STDs and do little to help people who aren’t sure if they have one or those who are living with one, I’ve decided to include this article so you could decide.
The whole article isn’t bad, mind you, I’m just not certain I agree with their emphasis on not telling someone if you are being treated for a curable STD and being brief when you tell someone you have an STD.
Someone practicing comprehensive safer-sex would be communicating their experiences to their partner and would also be disclosing their experience with STDs. Being brief in the conversation does nothing to dispel myths or provide resources for an educational approach. While I wouldn’t suggest an hour long lecture, I’d also make sure to provide some detail and to be very honest and forthcoming with whoever you’re telling.
GAL Time Discusses How (and When) to Tell Him the News
Their article works for both sexes. While I’m not sure how they define ‘early’ – aside from before being intimate – in their post about when to tell someone, everything else is pretty spot on and matches up with what we wrote a few months back (when and how).
They also talk about having the STD conversation regardless of whether you have an STD – part of a comprehensive safer-sex regime. Their points include: get educated, create a safe space, practice in advance, set aside the right time and place, surround the news with positive points both before and after, and give your partner time.
Go Ask Alice Addresses What to Do If You Waited too Long to Tell
This question and detailed answer from Columbia Health’s Go Ask Alice does a wonderful job of talking a reader through feelings of shame and guilt after having had sex with a partner and now wanting to tell them about having herpes without losing the individual.
The article works well for any kind of sexually transmitted infection or disease and showcases some of the steps we’ve previously discussed.
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What do you think about the articles we’ve included? Are we missing a valuable resource or article that helped you have the conversation? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!