“You’re not just having sex with them, you are actually having sex with every person they have had sex with before.” This is a common phrase in sexual health education. It warns of the dangers that come with not knowing the sexual history of your partner. You may think you have a clean bill of sexual health, and you may think your partner does as well, but it doesn’t mean you’re safe just because you don’t notice anything wrong.

Many STD infections can be in the body without ever showing signs. This is very, very common. It is what’s known as asymptomatic, and it can lead to the spread of infections. Sometimes, your partner may have never shown any symptoms but a previous partner tested positive for an STD. Has your partner also been tested? Do you know for sure? This is the exact reason why sexual health educators say that if you have sex with one person, you are also having sex with every person they have had sex with.

Sometimes, people can be nervous or scared to share information about their sexual past. Your partner may have had an STD a while ago and may be afraid to share their experience with you. Some STDs are completely curable, such as chlamydia, syphilis, trichomoniasis or gonorrhea. Other STDs are viral, like herpes or HIV, and therefore stay with you for life.
This is why understanding what STDs are and how they are treated can really help with any discussion with your partner. The more you know about your health, the easier it will be to talk about. It is important to have an honest conversation with your partner, or partners, about sexual history and when they last tested for STDs/HIV.

Maybe your partner refuses to discuss their sexual health and sexual history with you. If someone is willing to engage in sex, they should also be capable of discussing their past experiences with you. You don’t want to end up catching an STD simply because you didn’t have a discussion. If you or your partner have been sexually active in the past with other people you should make sure that each of you know the current status of your sexual health. If left untreated, there are many STDs that can lead to more serious health issues. This is why it is important to have STD testing performed.