THE O-FACE: The dreaded question

Published 2013-02-20T08:00:00Z”/>


Chantal Richards

We have all heard the sayings, “No glove, no love” and “If it smells like fish, find another dish.”

These phrases have been ingrained in the forefront of our minds when it comes to safe sex. But how do we open up to new partners and ask them the dreaded question that often floats to the back of our minds when wrapped up in the throes of passion?

The question is, “Have you been tested?”

It can be uncomfortable, but STDs are part of a subject that should be covered with every new partner in your life. You should be direct and up front, even if you want the floor to swallow you whole because of embarrassment, because avoiding it could lead to dire consequences.

You may want to bring up the question in a quiet place where both of you can be comfortable and relaxed, so your partner doesn’t take it the wrong way. Your partner may think you don’t trust him or her or that you are accusing them of having a sexually transmitted disease.

Keep your voice neutral and calm when you discuss the matter, because it’s a sensitive topic. If you are worried about how he or she will react, the best approach is to say it’s for their benefit as well, even if you know you are clean. It takes the spotlight off of them and prevents them from feeling attacked.

On the other hand, there is the issue that comes with the potential for someone to lie to you. In this case, and in any early rendezvous with a new partner, use condoms until the truth can be determined. If your partner refuses to get tested, simply ask why. Usually it can be resolved with the proper information.

It’s also important to do your research. Everyone should know the facts and symptoms of STDs inside and out. Our very own Student Health Center offers free STD testing through Family Pact, a type of insurance.

Family Pact is accessible to all Chico State students who either don’t have insurance or don’t have insurance that covers contraception methods.

Couples can go separately or together to get tested. Going together is sometimes more comfortable because both can talk to the doctor about different ways to practice safer sex.

More than 2,000 chlamydia screenings were conducted during the 2010-2011 school year, according to the Student Health Center. During the same period, 114 students received herpes tests.

These statistics are low considering that 16,470 students were attending Chico State last fall. But the scary part is how many students don’t know they are infected with an STD because they have not been tested.

Getting checked out is good for your own well-being, but it is also good for your partner’s.

Most of the time, symptoms don’t immediately show up, and your partner might not know they have an STD until you are nursing a very foul-looking nether-region. It can take up to three months for symptoms of STDs like syphilis to show.

The best time to get tested is after sleeping with a partner and before hooking up with a new partner.

Remember  — what happens in Chico stays in Chico, except for herpes. That follows you home.

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<strong>Chantal Richards can be reached at</strong> <a href=”mailto:[email protected]”><em>[email protected]</em></a>

  1. Chantal Richards