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Can I Tell If My Partner Has an STD Before Having Sex?

Before engaging in sexual intercourse, a level of caution is recommended. How much do you know about your partner’s sexual history? Understandably, this may be an uncomfortable conversation to have. But if your partner has been with other people, there’s a risk that he’s carrying a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Choosing to have sex with someone can be a major decision. On top of being careful about STDs, you may want to research effective unexpected pregnancy prevention methods. What are the most accurate contraceptives? How can STDs be identified and prevented?

Are you thinking about ways to safeguard yourself against pregnancy and STDs? Avenue Women’s Center has been helping women navigate their options since 1981. If you’re concerned about pregnancy, receive a free, medical-grade pregnancy test at one of our six Chicagoland locations. Our tests are accurate just ten days after possible conception. During your appointment, you’ll receive your results and discuss your contraception or STD questions with our expert staff.

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What Are Some Ways I Can Protect Myself Against Pregnancy and STDs?

It’s normal to consider all of the possible outcomes that may result from having sex. Going through an unexpected pregnancy or becoming infected with an STD can be life-changing. If you have concerns about becoming pregnant or contracting an STD, then you may want to discuss this with your partner.

Having this conversation can seem intimidating. It may feel like an awkward topic to talk about, or you might be worried about upsetting him. But if he’s been honest with you before about his past sexual experiences, then he may be open to sharing. Even if there’s hesitation to have this discussion, asking your partner if he’s ever been screened for an STD or what pregnancy prevention methods he’s open to can be important.

If your partner is unwilling to have this conversation, consider finding out more. Is he embarrassed to discuss the topic? In that case, he may need time before he’s ready to talk. But if he refuses to have the conversation at all, then you may want to be careful about engaging in intercourse before you have more information.

Importance of Screening for an STD

Unfortunately, you may not always be able to tell someone has an STD by looking at them. Prior to engaging in sexual activity, it’s recommended to get screened for STDs. Screening tests are often provided at local medical clinics and county health departments. You can also visit a first-step options clinic for a referral to a center that offers this form of care.

Certain STDs can carry serious health risks. This means you may want to take certain precautions. On top of preventing pregnancy, male and female condoms typically offer an effective safeguard against STDs. However, there is no 100% guarantee that a condom will fully protect you against infections. The only method that will prevent you from ever contracting an STD all of the time is abstaining from sexual intercourse. This is the same for unexpected pregnancies.

What Should I Do If I’m Pregnant and I Have an STD?  

It can be stressful to learn about an unexpected pregnancy and an STD on top of this. Seeking help from a professional resource can guide you toward steps you can take to prioritize your health. This may include a healthcare provider or a pregnancy consultant.

Some questions you may want to ask yourself:

  • How do I feel about parenting, adoption, and abortion?
  • Do I need to be tested for an STD prior to having an abortion?
  • Where can I schedule an ultrasound exam to rule out possible health risks and determine the pregnancy’s gestational age?
  • Are there birth control methods I may want to talk more about for the future?

Facing a difficult circumstance can be overwhelming. But knowing where to go for help can connect you to caring resources.

Do you suspect you may be pregnant or have an STD? Avenue Women’s Center will connect you to the reliable support you need. Our expert pregnancy consultants will talk you through your options within a nonjudgmental environment. During your appointment, we can answer questions about birth control, pregnancy options, and STD risks. To keep you updated on your health, we can offer you limited medical services and referrals for further support.

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Reviewed by Patricia Kuenzi, APN-CNP, MSN, ANP, PNP.

The information provided here is general in nature.  It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention.  Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.