It’s often hard for people to know how to talk about sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The topic can prompt a lot of awkward or potentially stressful conversations. But if you’re a grown man who has sex with other adults, you need to be equipped with the proper tools to navigate your sexual health safely and mindfully. Because the truth is, STIs are way more common than you think.
According to the New York Department of Health, nearly 1 in 4 Americans has had an STI at one point or another; furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 79 million Americans have at least one of the 100+ existing strains of HPV. Yet despite the prevalence of STIs, they are still heavily stigmatized. People are reluctant to openly talk about them or even get tested, even though the CDC recommends that if you have any unprotected sex, you should be tested for HIV at least once a year.
If you do get tested and you test positive for an STI, it’s important to know that with treatment, people can and do live full, healthy lives. Here are 7 other things you need to know, from whether or not you can still have sex to how you should tell your partner.