Get Your Man to Get the HIV Tests
Oh, the awkwardness, the frustration!
Oh, the powerful desire and overwhelming sense of urgency! You know you must ask. You would rather just bury yourself under the covers and make it all go away.
Your angel sternly cautions, “No sex without testing! No boy is worth risking your health.”
Your devil urges, “C’mon, he’s a clean-cut all-American boy. Where’s the risk? Where’s the harm?”
Your knowledge of boy-think suggests you may lose this promising relationship if you press the STD testing issue too aggressively, yet you absolutely need to know that your boy is clean and safe.
You know you must demand that he get tested, but you have absolutely no idea how to ask.
The Issue Is Not Negotiable.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, “STDs are one of the most critical health challenges facing the nation today. CDC estimates that there are 19 million new infections every year in the United States.
STDs cost the U.S. health care system $17 billion every year—and cost individuals even more in immediate and life-long health consequences.” Epidemiologists wisely concede, “The first hurdle will be to confront the reluctance of American society to openly confront issues surrounding sexuality and STDs.
Despite the barriers, there are existing individual- and community-based interventions that are effective and can be implemented immediately. That is why a multifaceted approach is necessary to both the individual and community levels.”
The most recent statistics underscore the importance of asking about and getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Especially in women aged 15 to 24, rates of Chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea have skyrocketed over the last five years, and rates of new HIV infections in college students also have increased dramatically.
Connie Brichford and Dr. Lindsey Marcellin report three especially revealing statistics that ought to drive all would-be sexual partners directly to their primary care physicians or family planning clinics: “31 percent of new cases of HIV are transmitted through heterosexual sexual activity.
As many as 80 percent of new HIV cases in women are due to heterosexual sex.
In 2007, almost 7,000 new cases were diagnosed in people younger than 24.”
Five Approaches to The Tough Questions
Given both the urgency and the awkwardness of the conversation, you should consider your strategy before you jump into the fray.
A thoroughly unscientific survey of Arizona State University coeds established five approaches to the daunting-but-essential question “How would you persuade a new boyfriend to get tested for STDs?”
The Direct Approach
“Honey, you must get tested.”
Sadly but truly, a boy’s willingness to take STD tests may become a make-or-break issue in a relationship.
Although no boy ever has conceived a legitimate reason for refusing testing, nevertheless many boys will try, claiming it’s a trust issue or a privacy issue or some other boy-brained nonsense that takes longer to explain than blood tests take to administer and process.
If the boy does not both agree and follow through, he gets kicked to the curb, no questions asked, no excuses or explanations required.
The Take Charge Of The Team Approach
“I made an appointment for us to get tested.”
Because STD testing has serious ramifications for both partners in a relationship, the team approach makes a great deal of sense.
If you take the initiative and make the process easy, you instantly overcome the most common boy-obstacles to getting the job done; if you provide the transportation and hold your boy’s hand through the entire “ordeal,” you leave him no wiggle room, and you get the information you need.
You can also find sites online where you can get discounts on STD tests.
“If you care about me, you will get tested.”
Although the guilt trip seems to raise the stakes, adding an emotional condition and attaching a string to the relationship, your connection between care and sex is a simple matter of fact…and self-respect.
No self-respecting woman of the new millennium would waste her body’s joys and gifts on a boy who did not care enough to protect her against serious, often life-threatening disease.
Note that the operative word is “care.” Sexual testing costs less than buying you an upscale Margarita or a fast-food meal and it takes no more than five minutes.
No one has any good reason to decline.
“We will not have sex until you get tested.”
More than a thrown-down, more than an idle threat, you must make good on refusal of your sexual gifts and favors until you have assurance of your safety.
No matter how many cocktails you enjoy, no matter how persuasive your boy’s sweet talk, no matter how much your boy insists everything is just fine and he always will love you, you must stand firm.
No approach required. “Wow, you got tested!”
You will know your boy is a keeper if he volunteers test results early in the relationship.
Better than a thoughtful, romantic card or even a trinket from Tiffany and Co., the test results signify both concern for your health and well-being and willingness to take responsibility for the quality of the relationship.
Nothing says “this is that guy” more than test results already on hand.
You Cannot Take “No” For An Answer
The sooner you launch the discussion and get the tests out of the way, the sooner passion may prevail.
Although most couples treat free and frank exchange as their very last resort, honesty remains the best policy.
Whatever approach you take to discussion of STD testing, you may want to approach it slowly, building to it instead of launching it like a rocket-propelled grenade.
The experts at geekandjock.com offer an excellent warm-up for the discussion of STD testing. Before you dig into the mother lode of all things difficult, open up general discussion of your communication styles.
They suggest, “Try asking him this: Hey babe, you know I think the way I talk to you is all wrong so I really do want to be better at that. When I’ve got something weird going on inside my head, how would you like me to tell you about it because your opinion and support means so much to me.’”
If you can talk about talking, discussion of medical issues ought to be a piece of cake.
Over To You
Now that we’ve reached the bottom, here’s what you can do next:
- Have you ever had to ask the question?
- What’s one way you’d handle it?
- ‘Should’ you even ask the question or leave it to the guy to do it?
And thanks for reading too – I’ll see you in the comments.