Did you know that April is STD Awareness Month? It's so important to get tested if you are sexually active, and with modern technology allowing you take an STD test in the comfort of your own home now, people no longer have a reason not to get tested.

Discussing your sexual health can be uncomfortable and downright awkward, but it's crucial to know before engaging in sexual activity. Both people involved are more than likely wanting to ask the same thing anyway; they just don't know how to bring it up in conversation. That is no excuse to not have the talk though. Symptoms of an STD are not always visible on the surface, so just because someone looks and acts normal does not mean they are STD-free. In fact, if they did have an STD, they may not even know it (yet). So, how do you bring it up? Before you overthink it, try to view it as just another casual conversation; you're both consenting adults who want the same thing, so this conversation not only benefits you, but it's doing them a favor as well.

First off, make sure the timing is right. You don’t want to rush it right before you engage in sexual activity, but you also don't want to wait until it’s too late and the opportunity has passed―just make sure you're prepared ahead of time to have the talk. You and your partner should decide on a mutual time that works for both of you. The question, "Do you have an STD?" might sound a bit aggressive and make your new partner uncomfortable, so maybe instead replace it with "Have you been tested?" which will open the topic up for discussion. If you are going to go the conversational route, try to sound calm and understanding. Share your own sexual stats instead of just grilling your partner about their own. Ask for specifics as well: "How do you know you're clean?" "When were you last tested?" Their number of past sexual partners is irrelevant and could possibly just bring up unnecessary conflict, so steer clear from that question if you can help it. Don't be afraid to be direct; vagueness is usually a warning sign.

You’ll sense very quickly if this conversation frightens your partner, or instead, if they are confident and sure-sounding with their response. Be patient: they may be silent and unsettled at first or pull away initially, but they may become less resistant later. Don’t immediately react and end up saying something you will later regret. If they say they have never been tested, it is up to you to make an informed decision on whether or not you want to move forward or take a step back to pause and think about how you should proceed. If you want to stay safe but also continue seeing them, try asking if they would be willing to get tested. It never hurts to ask, and with EverlyWell's simple at-home STD testing kit, there is no need for any awkward visit to the doctor or taking time off work to get some lab work done. Their results (or yours too!) will come back in 5 days, and then there will be no more uncertainty between you two.

These conversations are completely normal and most people, if not all, encounter them at some point in their life or another. Overall, just rememeber: be direct, be clear, be receptive, and be safe.