Sharing Your STI Results With Your Partner

by Reid on October 22, 2015

portrait of middle aged couple on white backgroundHow to make it seem normal to talk about STI testing which isn’t in our society? Talking about things with your partner before you do them, can soften the blow. You don’t want it to come as a surprise.

Join relationship expert Reid Mihalko from and Cathy Vartuli from as they share ways to tell your partner about your STI/STD results.

Cathy: One of our listeners wrote in and said she just got tested- yes good job. She wants to share it with her partner but … which is even better.

Reid: That was the bad cabbage patch.

Cathy: It was really bad.

Reid: I don’t have a lot of room for- I’m afraid I’m going to hit you in the boob.

Cathy: She’d like help normalizing how could she talk to her partner, help it seem normal to talk about STI testing which isn’t in our society. A lot of people don’t get tested. I have a conversation with people when I’m going out on dates with them, most of them are like, “Oh no I never get tested. I don’t need to get tested.” I’m like, I think everybody should get tested.

Reid: Yeah. I’m big on pro testing. Okay. First if you-

Cathy: Your big pro-

Reid: Big on pro testing? I pay professionals to test me.

Cathy: This is Reid Mihalko from

Reid: Reid Mihalko from I know what I’m talking about.

Cathy: He protests often.

Reid: Yes. Oh yeah. Oh. Protest. No. Yes to testing.

Cathy: I’m Cathy Vartuli from

Reid: I’m very pro … testing and for those of you who are watching this who’ve never been tested or haven’t been tested in awhile, please don’t beat yourself up for this. This isn’t about shaming you for not getting tested. My personal belief is that people should get tested twice a year. If you’re super sexually active, I get tested three or four times a year. For a couple of different reasons, but mostly I just want to be up on what’s going on, and I’m role modeling for my friends and community that it’s okay to get tested a lot if you want to.

I post my testing results on Facebook. You do not have to try and normalize it for your loved ones by posting things of Facebook.

Cathy: Hi mom!

Reid: And tagging them in it. Okay. What I would do is ideally have a conversation about, “Hey. I’m going to go get tested and I’m a little nervous. One about getting tested and two, how would you like me to talk to you about it?”

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: Doing things before you do that- talking about things before you do them can start to soften the blow. Where other people it just comes at a surprise.

Cathy: Out of context it’s like, “Why? Were you concerned? What was going on?”

Reid: Yeah. “I’m not diseased.” Or like whatever that is. The difficult conversation formula is a really great way to like, here’s something I want to talk to you about. I’m scared about this, this and this. Here’s what I’d like to have happen. Here’s the thing I need to tell you. That works for when you’re nervous ahead of time.

It also works if you’ve been tested and you want to initiate the conversation with your partner. Okay, so it’s like, “Cathy, there’s something I’m afraid to tell you about. I’m worried that you’re going to think weird things about me.”

Cathy: I do often.

Reid: That’s true. “I’m afraid that you’re going to not be my friend any more, I’m afraid you’re going to embarrass me publicly or something like that.” Which sometimes you do. “What I’d like to have happen is for you to know that I try to stay on top of things that I think are important for myself and that I’ll always share with you the truth and whatever new news I need to share you. What I haven’t told you is I got tested recently and I would love to share with you my STD results. May I?”

Then you kind of use the difficult conversation formula to set the context and it doesn’t surprise your loved one. If the person who wrote the question is actually watching, hopefully you haven’t surprised them and then they think something’s wrong, or that you got tested because you don’t trust them.

Those are just things that you would list in your conversation. “I’m afraid that by having this conversation with you, you don’t think I’m trusting you or …” You just drop that stuff in. It helps them create context. Another way to normalize it is to invite your loved ones to come get tested with you.

Cathy: It’s surprisingly easy and not- the first time I got tested it was decades ago but I was so nervous and ashamed. It was just, they drew some blood, I peed in a cup, we were done. There wasn’t a big deal. I think when people start being exposed to that- and I also share with some of my closer friends that, “Hey I’m going to get tested.” They’re like “Oh I’ve never been tested.” Some of them have said that. Just them hearing about it starts getting them more curious. Like, “Oh should I get tested?”

Reid: I’ve had friends call me up and be like, “I’m scared to go get tested, will you go with me?” I’m like, “Absolutely.” That’s something I’m really passionate about. That doesn’t have to be your area of activism.

Please get tested regularly. Even if you’re in a  monogamous relationship, if you’re somebody with a vulva, you still need to get a pap smear. Everyone get tested regularly at least twice a year. I think, if you’re in a monogamous relationship with somebody and you think everything’s fine, then you can go once a year. If you’re somebody who’s super promiscuous like I am, I’d say every three to four months.

Cathy: Thanks so much for the question. We really appreciate it. We love talking about this topic because that helps normalize it for everybody else.

Reid: Yeah. Post this, share this video on Facebook, tweet it, put it in your social media, like it on YouTube, things like that. Also for those of you who need to find a clinic, go to and you’ll find a page about the safer sex elevator speech. There are some places that you can put in your zip code and the CDC will help you figure out where there are clinics in your neck of the woods that you can get tested for free.

Cathy: Thanks so much.

Reid: Bye.

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