How Do I Tell Him That I Have an STD?

I recently found out that I have a sexually transmitted disease called chlamydia (which is highly treatable and curable), but I'm not sure who I contracted it from. I was in a relationship for three years that ended about three months ago and since then have started another. However, these are the only two men that I have been intimate with.

I love my current boyfriend dearly. He is very understanding and caring, but this is just so hard to say to him. Any advice on how to break the news? --iVillager regasbabe


Sherry Amatenstein

Sherry is the author of The Q&A Dating Book and Love Lessons from Bad Breakups. She has taught dating seminars, appeared as an expert... Read more

Dear regasbabe:

The good news is that the bug you've contracted is curable. So the news you'll be delivering to the men in your life is distasteful, but thankfully not dangerous to their health.

To new beau (delivered when you're alone together but not in bed): ''Honey, there's nothing to worry about but there is something I have to tell you. Since we got together, as you know, you've been the only man in my life. But you know I was with (fill in name of ex) for three years. I just found out that I have a totally curable STD called chlamydia. It's nothing like AIDS or even herpes. There's a simple treatment, and there are no aftereffects. You need to be tested for it as well. I'm also going to tell my ex about it because either he or you gave it to me. I love you, and I'm sorry you have to go through this. But we have to face it, deal with it and then move on with our lives.'' If new beau is as understanding and caring as you say he is, this setback shouldn't affect the relationship.

However, you should also use this problem as a jump start to discussing sexual histories and ensuring that from now on you take appropriate precautions. After all, he might have given this bug to you. And what were you doing not using condoms with a new lover?

Yes, you must contact your ex and tell him that he needs to be tested for this highly treatable STD. Ask him to let you know if he tests positive or negative -- that will help you ferret who gave this bug to you.

For those with the trickier dilemma of how to tell a new beau that they have a not-so-curable STD (herpes or HIV), the bomb needn't be dropped at the first meeting, but it's got to be delivered before you have sexual contact.

Outline (in a way that's as calm and nonthreatening as possible) the details of your condition -- how you caught it (a brief recitation is fine), how you're controlling it, the general state of your heath and the parameters of safe sex. You want to come off as a mature, responsible, caring, upbeat person. If he can deal with the ramifications of your condition, great. If not, assure him that you'll have no hard feelings and very nice memories.

Good luck and good health.

Created on: 10/6/00 Reviewed on: 02/21/2002