When dating a new person, the STD question is bound to come up.
It was a perfect day for a long walk on the boardwalk. We’ve been chilling for months, and we’ve never kissed or held hands. Both of us.” Before we did anything physical — even a first kiss — he wanted to get tested for STDs together.
For four to five months, we never once got physically intimate. In nearly 20 years of dating, this was the only guy who insisted I get tested. It certainly did kill the mood that morning, but it was the most memorable, tender discussion I ever had with a partner about STD testing.
He never held my hand, never wrapped his arm reassuringly around my waist, never did any of the real obvious, this-is-my-girl signs. I enjoyed his company and hoped something more serious would develop. Growing up poor, he said that he saw plenty of folks die of curable STDs they contracted due to drug use and other risky behavior, and it terrified him.
Then, one evening, we finished dinner and were ready to crash from overeating. I told him about how my uncle died of AIDS at a very young age — and how, as a child, I watched him wither away to almost nothing but bones.
We tried to watch whatever movie was on, but ended up passing out on my couch. For a while I lay there, staring at the ceiling, and then fell asleep fully dressed. Statistically, it was in our best interest as a new couple to be in the clear about our health statuses.
There was no physical contact other than his head resting pleasantly on my chest. According to the American Sexual Health Association, more than half of all people will have a sexually transmitted disease or infection at some point in their lives.The next morning, I woke up first, brushed my teeth, washed my face and started doing some light chores. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that, in 2013, men accounted for 91 percent of all syphilis cases; in 2012 to 2013, the rate of gonorrhea among men increased 4.3 percent; and from 2009 to 2013, men’s chlamydia rates increased by 21 percent.Then I joined him back on the couch, poking at his shirt in an attempt to wake him up. Then I leaned close, my lips inches from his, ready to finally have some intimacy with this man … Lisa Fitzpatrick, a medical epidemiologist who specializes in treating HIV/AIDS, told PBS’s “Frontline” that many health providers simply don’t ask patients whether they’d like to be tested.“I realized that the awareness is just so low among health-care providers,” she told “Frontline.” “They have so many other things on their radar.” “Too many of us still believe it’s a problem somewhere else — among white gay men, in sub-Saharan Africa,” Phill Wilson, the chief executive of the Black AIDS Institute told “Frontline.” Two days after that morning STD talk, my new guy and I got tested together — and we both passed with flying colors.I don’t know why folks are so scared of getting tested or talking about it.At the clinic we saw people of all ages and colors holding their urine samples, waiting to be called by a nurse.