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makepeacewithit

Requiring STI + HSV testing for new partners?

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I've been turning this question over in my head for a while . . . a recent conversation with a friend got me to thinking about it. She isn't in the H Club, and she doesn't date much. She talked about wanting to ask a potential partner to get STI tested before they get intimate--I said it was a great idea and she should always honor herself, that I thought that if he was the right person, he would respect her for caring so much about it. I really believe that, so why do I struggle to ask for the same from the people I date?

I hear about people doing this, and I've always wished it was more normal to do this. To just have a calm, honest, and business-like discussion about risk factors, testing history, and current status seems like a pipe dream (just based on my dating experiences as an older woman--I'm 50 and have found that the men I've dated are all over the place about how they handle risks and testing, only once have I met a man who was willing to go hand-in-hand to the clinic for testing together.) Now, after this conversation with my friend, I feel very confident that I will move forward in my dating life requiring standard STI testing (my area even has free testing for residents, so I don't feel bad about asking for this), but I'm still uncertain about the feasibility of requiring potential partners to test for HSV. I know what a can of worms HSV testing is . . . but it's starting to feel like not testing or having clarity about their own status needs to be a deal breaker for me.

This issue was a huge problem for me in my most recent relationship, which has now ended; a big part of the breaking up was because I just couldn't get comfortable with his "I don't really care" attitude about HSV and other STIs. On the one hand, it was comforting that he was fine with the smalls risks my G-HSV-1 presented, but he didn't really care to know his own HSV status. I couldn't really blame him for opting out of testing for HSV, after all, it's the CDC's guidelines that advise against testing in the absence of symptoms, and I myself had a roller coaster ride to uncover my true status over a period of several years. Knowing personally that testing is imperfect and expensive as well as confusing and angst-producing, I decided to accept his feelings as gracefully as I could. But not knowing whether he has HSV-1 or 2 ended up weighing on my mind for the year we were together--I didn't want to give him my virus, nor did I want to acquire a new one. I took anti-virals to protect him from acquiring my virus, but in the end I felt bitter that I didn't really know whether I needed to bother with that--and despite being on the antivirals I still felt a lot of discomfort, especially about receiving oral sex, I just couldn't let go of having an overblown feeling of responsibility on the matter. Furthermore, I felt very torn up about not knowing if I was also risking acquiring a new virus from him. I tried to push my own worries about acquiring 2 away, tried to get comfortable with the reality that you can never really know, that intimacy always carries risks, etc. The final straw for me was me having an outbreak and finding myself angstfully wondering if I had newly acquired HSV-2, knowing the anti-virals would now serve to muddy the waters on finding out if that was the case. I broke up with him, in part, so I could get off the anti-virals and wait the 3-4 months to see if antibodies to 2 develop. In the end, I was kicking myself for getting into this uncertain situation again, and kicking myself for letting my worries interfere with what was otherwise a great relationship.

So moving forward, I want to be like my friend I mentioned above and require more transparency from potential partners from the get go.

Does anyone here have a policy about HSV testing status for potential partners? How has it gone for you?

 

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I had a strict policy since early 20's of full panel screening and if they didnt want to do it I would walk away. Yes there were a few that acted stupid about it but that's about them and not me (or you in your case). The ones that acted stupid finally came around but by that time I was sometimes turned off.

In this day and age if someone is not concerned with their health, then why should I merge my health (i.e. exchange bodily fluids) with theirs??

Just be cognizant that it is possible for someone to lie or make up paperwork. I'm sure this doesn't apply to 99% of people but there are a few psychopaths out there who would do this purely for the enjoyment of deceit.

 

Anyway, Good Luck!! It's always best to love yourself first. Nobody else will!

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