#AgonyCant Should me and the new lad I'm riding both get STI checks?
"I’ve started riding someone new and we recently chatted about STIs.
"We both admitted that we’ve never been tested for anything.
"I’m fairly certain that I don’t have anything as I’ve never had sex without a condom, other than with an ex I trusted, and he reckons he’s in the clear too because he’s never had unprotected sex.
"I’m not fussed about being tested but I’m also not bothered about getting it done if I don’t need to. He feels the same.
"We’ve been using condoms but I’m considering the pill – should I get an STI test even though there’s hardly any chance I have anything? And should I insist on him getting checked?"
Right so, in theory, if you've both never had unprotected sex and you've both never shown any symptoms of any sort of sexually transmitted infection, then you'd think that everything would be grand.
You clearly don't have an STI and you're not going to catch anything off each other so it'll be all G, right?
Not exactly though, no.
While there might be "hardly any chance" that you've got anything, there's still a chance.
STIs aren't exclusively transmitted through seminal or vaginal fluid, with skin-to-skin contact being a key player here.
Many sexually transmitted infections like HPV, chlamydia, and gonorrhea can all be asymptomatic too - essentially meaning that they can go undetected for extended periods of time without us knowing we've got them.
How well can you trust someone you've just started riding when it comes to this kind of thing too? And how well can you trust your own memory as well?
I'm not saying anybody here is lying or actively trying to be deceptive. The fact that the two of you are having the STI convo like the mature adults you are is a good sign, and tbh, not enough people engaging in casual sex are doing it.
But there is a chance that this lad might've forgotten that other time recently enough that he forgot to use a condom. Or you might have misremembered the number of people who you had unprotected sex with.
And even if you didn't, as we know very well from four whole paragraphs ago, condoms cannot protect against all forms of STI.
Like most forms of contraception, they are not 100 percent effective. This means that even if you're using one during sex, you're not protected against STIs like herpes, syphilis, and HPV which are transmitted in different ways to other common infections like chlamydia and gonorrhoea.
Similarly, just because you've used a condom, that doesn't necessary mean that you used it correctly - or that it didn't break while you were having sex.
Accidents happen all the time and unfortunately for us, being pretty sure about something just doesn't have the same effect as like, getting medical clearance that you're all good.
If you're considering switching from condoms to the pill, then getting yourselves both checked would be a good idea.
Most people (including past-me tbh, hands up) wouldn't have even considered this being an issue - once you're using some sort of contraception then things should be grand, right?
... Except it's not, because STIs are a thing and getting pregnant isn't the only unfortunate thing that can happen to you if you're having unprotected sex.
You clearly aren't most people though because you have taken the time to write to a literal agony aunt about it, so it's clearly something that's been weighing on your mind.
And if that's case, you should go get yourself checked.
It'll give you peace of mind for now, and it'll assure you that once the next lad to ride comes along - and if anything dodgy happens STI-wise - you're totally clean.
Plus, if you're going to force this lad to go get an STI screening, he'll probably expect the same from you. Just for balance, you know?
Getting yourself checked for the first time can be a bit intimidating or awkward if you don't know what to expect, but it won't be half as awkward as finding out you've accidentally gotten chlamydia at some point in the future, so you know, swings and roundabouts.
If you're feeling a bit iffy about it, pop into your GP and have a chat with them first and they'll be able to point you in the right direction.
St James Hospital's GUIDE clinic has a handy run down as to what you can expect when you go in for your check, including the questions you'll be asked, the details of the physical examination, and what samples will be taken.
At the end of the day, if you're sexually active, you should be getting regular STI checks. If anything does go wrong in the future, you won't be able to rely on 'pretty sure' and 'reckon.'
Better to be safe than sorry, IMO.
A list of free STI clinics around the country can be found here.
Worried about going on a first date with someone new? Got some lad onto you who won't take the hint? Are you being ghosted, breadcrumbed, or some other new form of dating trend? Just need somewhere to vent about everything that's wrong with your love life? Same, to be honest.
Don't worry though because at Her we've been there, we are still there, and we can maybe even give you some decent advice. At the end of the day, #ShiftHappens to all of us.
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