In a recent Reddit post, a young man reached out for advice, saying: “I just found out my girlfriend has genital herpes… any advice would be helpful.” Finding out that your partner has a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or sexually transmitted disease (STD) can be a daunting experience, stirring up a whirlwind of emotions such as anger, fear, and frustration. Addressing such a situation requires a delicate balance of empathy, understanding, and practical considerations.
Before delving into the complexities of relationships and STDs, it’s crucial to have a basic understanding of what sexually transmitted diseases are. STDs are infections that are primarily transmitted through sexual contact, encompassing a range of diseases such as herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and others. They can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites and may be present with or without noticeable symptoms. Some can be treated and cured; others, such as the herpes virus in the example above, are incurable. If you contract it, you will have it for the rest of your life.
Proactive Steps: Getting Tested and Informed
Upon discovering that your partner has an STD, the first and immediate step is to be proactive about addressing the issue. Both partners should undergo testing to gain a comprehensive understanding of the situation. This involves gathering information about the specific STD, its transmission methods, and available treatments.
Seeking medical advice is crucial for developing a clear plan of action. Depending on the STD, there may be treatments available to manage symptoms or reduce the risk of transmission. It’s essential to approach this phase with open communication, supporting each other through the process and fostering an environment of trust.
The Illusion of Safe Sex
The concept of entirely safe sex is non-existent. Condoms, often touted as a dependable safeguard, come with limitations, making them an unreliable barrier against numerous STDs.
While it is wise to pursue various protective measures, the ultimate truth is that there is no foolproof method of safeguarding against STDs outside of abstinence or restricting sexual activity to marriage alone. If you and your partner are not married, exercising restraint from sexual activity becomes a vital consideration.
Evaluating the Relationship
Discovering that your partner has an STD inevitably prompts questions about the future of the relationship. It’s essential to engage in open and honest conversations, asking about the number of sexual partners your partner has had and whether they have been forthcoming about their sexual history.
If your partner has a history of multiple sexual partners, it may raise concerns about their commitment to a monogamous relationship. A long pattern of numerous relationships reveals a character that is less likely to remain committed and faithful in future relationships. Furthermore, not all partners may disclose their entire sexual history truthfully, and some STDs may not exhibit symptoms – meaning that your partner could be passing on an STD without knowing it, even if they would otherwise be conscientious about protecting you.
If you desire a committed, long-lasting relationship, it might be prudent to reevaluate if your partner and you are on the same page. Suppose you have differing values regarding finding a life partner who wants to pursue purity and commitment. In that case, it may be necessary to consider ending the current relationship and seeking someone with a shared perspective.
Redemption in God’s Kingdom
For those who find themselves in a committed marriage or are convinced that their partner is the right one, it is paramount to seek support, education, and guidance. In God’s kingdom, there is always room for redemption and healing. Couples can navigate these challenges together, leaning on their faith, seeking professional advice, and fostering a resilient relationship.