STD Testing: Conversation Starters

It might be hard to talk to your partner about getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), but it’s important. Chances are your partner will be glad you brought it up.

Talk before you have sex.

  • “Let’s get tested before we have sex. That way we can protect each other."
  • “Many people who have an STD don't know it. Why take a chance when we can know for sure?”

There are other things you may want to talk to your partner about. For example:

  • Sexual history — like what type of protection you usually use (for example, condoms or dental dams) or the last time you got tested for STDs
  • Risk factors — like whether you’ve had sex without a condom or used drugs with needles

Share the facts.

  • “STDs that are found and treated early are less likely to cause long-term problems.”
  • “Getting tested is easy. Doctors and nurses can test your urine (pee) for chlamydia and gonorrhea, 2 of the most common STDs."
  • "Getting tested can be fast, too. For some HIV tests, you get your results in 20 minutes."
  • "If you want to get tested at home, you can buy an HIV home test online or at a store."
  • "If you don't feel comfortable talking about STDs with your regular doctor, you can get tested at a clinic instead." 

Show that you care.

  • “I really care about you. I want to make sure we're both healthy.”
  • “I've been tested for STDs, including HIV. Are you willing to do that, too?”
  • “Let’s get tested together.”

Agree to stay safe.

  • “If we’re going to have sex, using condoms is the best way to protect us from STDs. Let’s use condoms every time we have sex.”
  • “We can enjoy sex more if we know it’s safe.”

Content last updated June 10, 2021

Reviewer Information

This information on getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases was adapted from materials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Reviewed by:
Health Communication Science Office
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

September 2018

For more information about STD testing and prevention, check out: