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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Ask Scarleteen » Getting tested?

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Author Topic: Getting tested?
mspeacock
Neophyte
Member # 77928

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My boyfriend and I have been dating for a year. We would like to start having sex without using a condom, since the condom is pretty uncomfortable for me, and I'm also on the pill.

I've never had sex with anyone else before, but my boyfriend had a one night stand once, sometime in the year before we started dating. He said they used a condom, and he's never had any weird symptoms or anything. That was the only time he's had sex except for with me.

Should I insist on him getting tested for stds before we start having unprotected sex? Since he did use a condom before, I'm not sure whether it's necessary.

Thanks!

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Robin Lee
Volunteer Assistant Director
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HI There,

STDs or STIs (sexually transmitted infections) often show no symptoms, so the fact that your boyfriend hasn't had any doesn't indicate all by itself that he doesn't have an STI.

Getting a full STI screening, for boht of you, is a really good idea. It's just part of sexual health care and a good habit to get into.

What is it about condoms that is uncomfortable for you?

While STIs by their very nature are sexually transmitted, there are a few that can be transmitted in other ways.

Without sexual contact, could I have an STI?

So, bottom line: it's a good idea for both of you to be tested.

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Robin

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mspeacock
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Hi,

I actually had a full STD screening at my university health clinic a few months ago. Could my boyfriend still have an STD even though he used a condom the other time, then?

With the condoms, it's hard to explain... it's like it feels like burning or something? We actually did have sex without a condom once, and I didn't have that feeling, so I think it's definitely the condom. I didn't think about STD risk at the time, but it occurred to me later.

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Robin Lee
Volunteer Assistant Director
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It's important for your boyfriend to have a full STI screening, for his health as well as yours. There are some STIs that are transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, such as Herpes. Condoms don't protect against transmission of these STIs completely, though they do reduce the risk. Also, other sexual activities aside from intercourse can transmit STIs.

As to the condoms, one of two things might be going on. You might have too much friction and need to use extra lubricant. Many people need to use extra lube, especially those who are taking the pill, as one of the things the pill does is thicken cervical mucus. Using extra lubricant with condoms is generally a good idea, as too much friction can increase the chances that the condom will break. It's also possible that you have a latex sensitivity, in which case using a non-latex condom (still with extra lube) might be the trick to not having that burning sensation.

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Robin

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mspeacock
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Thanks for the help. Do you have any advice about how to convince my boyfriend to go get the STI screening? I've asked him about it a few times, but he keeps putting off actually making an appointment. I think he's embarrassed to go to the clinic, plus he thinks that I'm overreacting :/
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Robin Lee
Volunteer Assistant Director
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HI There,

Getting tested can be intimidating for a lot of people. Being tested for STIs isn't about anyone being bad or wrong, but about sound health care, but sadly testing (or having an STI) still has a lot of stigma attached to it.

I wonder if you could ask him what is making him put things off, explain that STI testing is really just a part of health care for people who are sexually active, and/or offer to go to the clinic with him? You know him best and know what he's likely to respond too.

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Robin

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I'd also suggest you stop asking, and just make clear this is a hard limit for you.

In other words, until he gets a screening, the conversation about sex without safer sex is just off the table. You can tell him that if -- so long as you are okay with this, I'm assuming you are since you've been having sex with condoms without him having been screened -- he wants to choose not to get tested, he has the right to make that choice, but he just also needs to know that's a choice to stick with condoms.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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