New to dating: protocol for asking about STD's?

Discussion in 'Sex and Relationships' started by Zoner, Mar 13, 2008.

  1. Zoner

    Zoner New Member

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    I'm 40, separated, and getting a divorce. My wife and I had no other sexual partners before we dated/married (or while married), so STDs were never an issue. I've never even used a condom.

    I'll likely be entering the dating realm at some point. STDs are something I've never had to be concerned about, and they scare the shit out of me. I have no intention of having sex with someone until I've gotten to know them (at least had a few dates, spending some substantial time learning about each other). I'd do this anyway, regardless of STD risks, since the idea of casual sex doesn't appeal to me (I like to know who it is I'm doing). And obviously, I'll use protection.

    Since I've never had to think about STDs before, I'm pretty ignorant about the whole thing. I've been reading up on symptoms, risks, prevention, treatment, etc. But there's a couple things not covered in those kinds of articles.

    First, what's the typical protocol for asking someone about STDs and testing? This will be someone I've gotten to know (at least a little) by this point. Second, is there a way I can see their test results, and know it's really theirs, and not just have to take their word for it? I know that kind of distrust isn't a great way to start a relationship, but I don't want to mess around with this.

    So, how does this whole process work?

    Thanks.
     
  2. loveit247

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    Generally, I always treat everyone as if they do have an STD. Only once we have got into a serious relationship do I discuss testing. I will only forego protection once my partner and I have got tested.
     
  3. sneak_8251

    sneak_8251 New Member

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    At least you're smart enough to be thinking about this!
    Turn the issue around a little. Get yourself tested, even if you know you are clean. Then you can show the results or just inform them of the results. This will show them that you are a responsible person and you are concerned about THEIR health as well as your own.

    An ounce of prevention..........
     
  4. MaxLong

    MaxLong New Member

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    Two great posts already... before my current gf, I would regularly get tested. Before anything really happened, I would bring it up as conversationally, and later would let them know how important it was to me to know we were both being safe. Of course, that was in general, when I wasn't being drunk and stupid, and would bring a girl home. Still wore a condom though, and thankfully, I'm disease-free.

    Similarly, when we as a couple have another girl join us, we know them, and they know our concerns about STD's. With disease becoming more prevalent, its the only way to truly have "safe sex".
     
  5. BassDude

    BassDude New Member

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    Welcome...great starting post!

    Well, I like straightforward honesty myself. I think I recall saying before "I don't have any STD's and I don't want any!"...about as straightforward as you can get. You've said you want to get to know the person first...that's a big plus, kudos to you! I agree with Loveit though...treat everyone like they have an STD until you know for sure that they don't. If you're going to get intimate with someone, then you should know them well enough to talk to them about their sex life before you. Whether you "require" someone to be tested and share those results with you prior to sex is really a judgement call. But then, it's your health that's at stake...is getting laid worth also getting something you can't get rid of (like Herpes) or, even worse, something that will kill you (like HIV)? My vote would be "no". Condom's reduce risks significantly, but they don't eliminate all risks entirely, so do consider that too.

    Except for two one night stands waaaaay back in college (in both of which I used a condom), I've never dated anyone with just the intention of getting sex and nothing else. It's pretty much always been within some sort of relationship for me, so the whole issue has taken care of itself. If you're in a relationship, you ought to be able to talk about the need/concerns over getting tested, unless the situation is so obvious that it's not even necessary to worry about testing (and there's not a whole lot of those). The point here is that I think knowing your lover's history goes a long way. (That is, of course, assuming they have been honest with you.)

    One would tend to think that if you were about to hop in bed with someone who has an STD, the person would tell you. But, people will often do things that aren't exactly responsible and considerate of others, so don't make any assumptions. PLUS it's entirely possible they could have picked up something from a recent encounter that wouldn't even show up on a test yet anyway, so again knowing their history sure seems like a good thing. Good luck with it all.

    HTH,
    BD
     
  6. Joe

    Joe
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    I think discussing STDs and testing early in any potential relationship is a very good idea.

    I contracted herpes from a 39-year-old woman who was a virgin except for childhood incest/rape by her older brothers decades earlier. I'd have never guessed she would have had an STD, and she was totally unaware of it. In fact, she insisted that I had gotten it from someone else. Not so.

    Following that, beginning about a year later and continuing for another year, I had sex with several women, and when the subject of having sex came up I always told them right up front that I had herpes. I found it interesting that that fact never stopped ANY of them from having sex with me, and furthermore that they still didn't want to use protection. (One did, because she wasn't on birth control, but following a vasectomy the protection ended.)

    When I first contracted the disease I thought my sex life had ended, that I'd never have sex with another woman (other than the one I'd caught it from) for the rest of my life. There was some hesitation -- "Let me think about this..." -- and once a nurse gave my dick a close inspection and washing before swallowing it the first time, but it never really changed anything. And no, I never passed the disease to anyone. I've never had an outbreak since the first one, 11+ years ago.
     
  7. BassDude

    BassDude New Member

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    Wow! That's almost unimaginable, so thanks for posting it. I assume your outbreaks are controlled by medication?

    BD
     
  8. Joe

    Joe
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    I caught on quickly what it was, as soon as the outbreaks appeared, and got to the doc the next morning. He gave me meds that were supposed to help get over it quicker and reduce the frequency of subsequent outbreaks. That's the last meds I took. Just lucky. Sorta....
     
  9. cbrmale

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    I have herpes on my genitals as well, caught from my wife whose only had sex with me! It's funny how these things can happen. Like Joe I had the one outbreak, had anti-virals, and never had another episode. At the moment it's fine because I can't infect my wife, and I don't have to worry about other partners.

    In the worse case, if one actually gets a sexually related something (herpes isn't a STI), it's good to keep perspective.
     
  10. Bluesy

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    Funny, all the major health organizations classify it as an STD...but if it makes you feel better, call it whatever you like.

    And, yes, technically the possibility of infection always exists, though the odds of contracting it from an infected partner decrease over time (since outbreaks become less frequent over time).

    Btw, it's impossible to say for certain when anyone contracts Herpes, unless they've only had one partner in the past decade. A) The virus can lie dormant in your system for up to 10 years, B) virally active skin cells are sometimes shed between outbreaks and generally shed preceding an outbreak, C) some carriers are asymptomatic, and D) some people get very few, very subtle lesions that easily go unnoticed or are mistaken for pimples or a mild rash, etc. And since it's quite possible to contract the virus even if you consistently wear condoms (infectious areas aren't limited to the penis and vagina), who's to say when a person becomes infected? It's a guessing game.

    **************************************************

    Call me cold-hearted, but odds are I would never consider dating a person infected with Herpes. *shrugs* I want to remain clean and condoms have an efficacy rate of only 50% when a person is contagious, you can't accurately predict when a person is contagious, and I'm not going to take that risk for a guy who may or may not work out as a long-term love interest.

    Prospective partners must absolutely get tested before we sleep together (oral sex included, since this is a transmission route for Herpes, HIV, HPV, et al). There are only four FDA-approved Herpes blood tests (that information is available through the "learn about" link in my signature), and it's not a standard part of STD testing, you have to request it. A person getting the blood test should be abstinent four months prior to the test (including oral sex) if you want an accurate result (it can take that long for your body to "show" that you've been infected).

    Hooray for singlehood! :p
     
    #10 Bluesy, Mar 17, 2008
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2008
  11. BassDude

    BassDude New Member

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    This isn't clear to me...you caught it from your wife, but you can't infect your wife? Do you mean because she is already infected. If your wife has only had sex with you, then how did she get infected? No offense...this just isn't clear.


    That's not cold-hearted...that's prudent. As usual, you demonstrate wisdom far beyond your age. ;)

    BD
     
  12. Joe

    Joe
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    I read something on the internet recently, and I can't verify its accuracy, that of married couples where one has herpes and the other doesn't, that only 1 in 20 will pass the virus (to the "clean" partner) in a year's time. I would have guessed the chances of transmission were much higher.


    Okay, Bluesy, you're cold-hearted, but I'd feel the same way. Call me cold-hearted also. Why risk it? If I'd have known that my partner (the one I caught the virus from) was infected, I seriously doubt we'd have ever hooked up. I dread the day when I discover I've passed the virus to my wife.
     
  13. FlirtyChick

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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cbrmale
    I have herpes on my genitals as well, caught from my wife whose only had sex with me!....At the moment it's fine because I can't infect my wife, and I don't have to worry about other partners.

    This isn't clear to me...you caught it from your wife, but you can't infect your wife? Do you mean because she is already infected. If your wife has only had sex with you, then how did she get infected? No offense...this just isn't clear.

    Yeah, I am confused too. How can you get herpes from your wife who had not previous genital contact with a man? How did she get it? Did she get it from you? None of this makes sense. Please be more clear. Can someone contact genital herpes from oral sex? Help us understand please....
     
  14. cbrmale

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    Flirtychick,
    There is much FUD about STDs, in my opinion caused by those who wish to turn the clock back the the pre-1960s sexual puritannical state. That is, conservatives wish to frighten us into abstaining from the promiscuity we have evolved towards. This primarily applies to your country, 'cause my country is more promiscuous than you can imagine. Indeed, compared to when I grew up, it is amazing just how much things have evolved. Oddly, we have lower rates of STD infection than the US.

    Herpes isn't classified as a STD, primarily because all strains are transmitted in many non-sexual ways. My wife was infected in a non-sexual way, and then she infected me in a sexual way. But because she already has the Herpes virus in her system, I cannot re-infect her.

    To answer your last question: one can catch herpes on their genitals from oral sex, as I did.
     
  15. Bluesy

    Gold Member

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    It would be a wonderful world if no one ever had to worry about STDs, unfortunately, the reality is that rates of infection are steadily increasing globally. Until the day our scientists can present us with vaccinations for STDs like HIV and Herpes (or a cure...a cure would sure be nice), people simply have to educate themselves and be as safe as they feel comfortable being. A vital part of being a grown-up is understanding and accepting risk. In order to make informed decisions, so that people know what sort of odds they're up against, education is nothing short of necessary. I suppose you think that a better alternative would be to practice sex in a state of blissful ignorance until the fateful day when one contracts an STD they can't get rid of from an encounter they now have to rue until their dying day...?

    Overall, this is certainly the case. However, 1 in 8 Australians have Herpes (1 in 6 women, 1 in 12 men), and 1 in 5 Americans have Herpes. That's not such a dramatic difference, and rates of infection are increasing in your country, as well.

    I thought perhaps they do things a bit differently in Australia, so I looked it up. Australia does classify Genital Herpes (caused by either of the two strains: HSV-1 or HSV-2) as an STI. (HSV-1 can, of course, be transmitted through facial/oral contact, as well, and is the strain that causes cold sores.)

    From "Genital Herpes in Australia, Facts and Stats":

    Genital herpes (GH) is a viral sexually transmitted infection (STI) which can be caused by herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2)

    Source: National Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategy 2005-2008

    http://209.85.165.104/search?q=cach...lia&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us&client=firefox-a

    Please note that this is an Australian site, and if you'd like further information, you can visit the Australian Herpes Management Forum site: http://www.ahmf.com.au/

    What he said. Both strains are transmissible by oral-to-genital contact, oral-to-anal contact, genital-to-anal contact, or genital-to-genital contact. This is the reason why so many teens are infecting one another these days, they erroneously think oral sex is "safe". Flavored condoms and dental dams are just as important as regular condoms in the fight against STDs.
     
    #15 Bluesy, Mar 18, 2008
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2008