The worst case scenario for not asking a sexual partner if they have an STI could be that they might transmit an STI to you or to other partners. That’s kind of it.
To be fair, though, this conversation isn’t perfect protection on its own. Your partner may not even know they have an STI. They could say “Nope! No STIs here!” but still have HPV or herpes, but just haven’t had any symptoms. Even partners that you trust 100% could still have STIs they don’t know about, the same way that a family or loved ones might pass on the flu without realizing it.
Even though it’s not perfect, and it’s often a tricky conversation, it’s good to talk to your partners about STIs and when they were last tested. It’s good to know what level of risk you’re accepting before engaging in sexual activity.
And if you can’t have that conversation, then we encourage folks to use barrier methods like condoms (external or internal) or dental dams to prevent fluid transfer, lowering your risk of catching an STI.
If you have questions about this topic, feel free to contact one of our peer educators. [Link]
Teen Health Source vols came up with some strategies and things to think about if you’re having a tough time coming out to your family.
A lot of the time “unprotected sex” usually means when people don’t use condoms and/or any birth control methods. That’s typically how people learn to use it, either in school or media. But really, it depends on what kind of things you’re trying to protect yourself from.