Feel good by contributing – help others to gain clarity on their sexual health. Note: TBD Health Inc. is not a non-profit.
by Adrienne Ton, NP
People seek out sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing for different reasons. Sometimes it’s a symptom like that odd discharge. Sometimes it’s a routine check on their health and they want to get tested to keep themselves and their partner(s) safe. Sometimes, it’s because they found out that their relationship was not the monogamous one that they thought they had signed up for.
On top of the emotional burden of news of infidelity, as a clinician, I often find that people are really scared about their health. These fears are echoed in people of all genders.
What if this person had a STI? Could I have been exposed to a STI that impacts my fertility? Could I have something and not even know it? Test me for everything!
This can be a shocking and stressful experience for your relationship(s) and your mental wellbeing but it can also impact your physical health in short and long-term ways. It can be hard to figure out your own risk for certain STI’s, especially if you don’t have information about your partner or their partners’ health.
What To Do
1. Take a deep breath. This sucks and can be scary. Please know that you have a team of people and resources to help you navigate this.
2. Set up time or place to get tested.
TBD is happy to provide you with a private, in-home testing kit, but you can also go to your local health department or clinic if you prefer.
3. Get tested, whether you have symptoms or not.
Knowing your status can help give you peace of mind. It can also help identify infections and connect you with treatment before they cause significant health problems, like infertility or pelvic pain. And if you decide to continue a relationship with your partner or partners, I recommend that those partners get tested and treated as well.
For folks who have concerns about infidelity, regardless of whether you have symptoms, I would recommend that you get tested for a full panel, like our 5 panel, as soon as you feel ready. This includes HIV, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Trichomonas. I recommend these tests as they are among the most common sexually transmitted infections that can cause long-term problems if left untreated. The great news about these infections is that there are great treatments for these. You can always discuss with a healthcare provider about any other tests that may be helpful. Some tests you can consider to be extra careful include Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Herpes Simplex Virus, and Mycoplasma Genitalium.
4. If you feel comfortable and safe, talk to your partner about this.
If they are having symptoms or if they know that their partners may have a certain infection, this can be useful information to tell a healthcare provider so we can help decide if we need any different kinds of testing.
Your partner should also get tested, especially if you think you want to continue the relationship.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your partner, that’s okay! Get tested and take your time to figure out what the next steps for your relationship (if any) are.
Again, this sucks and we're sorry this happened. Remember that we have good testing, good treatments, and a team of professionals who are happy to work with you and help you navigate this.
Photo by Anthony Tran from Unsplash