While the law does not restrict people with STDs from dating other people, they may be required to disclose this information to their partners beforehand.
In about 10 states, people with STDs must disclose their positive STD status to their sex partners. Another 3 states require people with STDs to disclose their positive status to needle-sharing partners. While other states may not require it legally, it is always a good idea to be open and honest about your STD status with people you share intimate relations with. Not doing so can put both their and your lives in danger and cause a ton of complications in the long run.
It can be hard to tell your partner that you have an STD, no matter how much trust is between you. However, there are certain best practices that you can adopt to make the conversation slightly easier. Read more below to find out how.
DO PEOPLE WITH STDS HAVE TO TELL THEIR PARTNERS ABOUT IT?
As mentioned before, people with STDs should disclose their positive STD status to potential sex partners before engaging in any sexual activity. But does that mean that people with STDs must disclose this information beforehand?
In the United States of America, at least 10 states require people with a positive STD status to disclose this information to their partners before having sex. Since this is a requirement set by the law, not fulfilling it may lead to penalties, including even a sentence.
The reason why disclosing your STD status before sex is such a big deal is that everyone has the right to enjoy a fulfilling, healthy, and safe sex life. No one wants to engage in sexual activity for pleasure only to get afflicted with a chronic, possibly life-threatening, incurable disease that they have to live with for the rest of their lives.
When disclosing your STD status to your sex partners, you must count all past, current, and future sex partners.
Sometimes, people are not aware of their positive STD status and only find out during a routine checkup. Since there is practically no way of knowing when you contracted the STD, it is best to inform all your past sex partners so they can get tested. Informing your past sex partners about your diagnosis may even help save their and other people's lives.
It is also important to realize that talking to your partner about your STD status may benefit you. It is entirely possible that your partner might have had a diagnosis of their own, which they might not have talked to you about. Initiating the conversation with them can help your partner be open and honest about their potential STD diagnosis with you, which may protect you from acquiring a superinfection from your partner.
WHY TELL YOUR PARTNER THAT YOU HAVE AN STD?
Here is a list of reasons why you should disclose your STD status openly and honestly to your sex partners:
- STDs can cause debilitating health problems if they remain undiagnosed
- Being open and honest about your STD status may help your partner make an informed decision about their sex life
- If you've already engaged in sex with your partner, being honest will only help them get diagnosed and treated early in the course of the disease.
- If you have an STD and take treatment for it, but your partner does not (because they are unaware of their STD status), you might get re-infected with the same disease.
- As mentioned before, not disclosing your STD status to your partner before you have sex may be a criminal offence in some states.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO TELL A PARTNER ABOUT YOUR STD?
The best way to tell your partner about your diagnosis is to be open and honest. If you haven’t had any sexual intercourse with your partner yet, it is ideal that you tell them before you engage in sex. Let them know about your STD status and give them a chance to make an informed decision about their life.
It is also important to know what to expect in return. Everyone has the right to choose what's best for their life. Keeping reasonable expectations from your partner is key. Do not expect your partner to stick with you no matter what because STDs can be scary, and not everyone wants to risk their health for love.
You can also ask your partner to visit a healthcare professional with you to get better guidance on how to manage this new situation. Your doctor can provide valuable information that makes it easier for your partner to choose what to do.