Before hopping into bed with a new sex partner, have an open and honest conversation about your sexual histories, risks, and the last time you were tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Knowing someone's test results isn't enough. "Even if your partner tested negative for HIV last week, it doesn't mean he or she isn't HIV positive," says Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, a psychologist specializing in HIV at New York University. "Most HIV tests can only detect the virus starting three to six months after infectionso you should ask about your partner's sexual history for the past six months."
Here's what you need to find out. Of course, you probably won't get too far down the list if you just roll out the interrogation; but these are the questions you really do need answers to, one way or another. One option: Start by sharing your own history, and see what you get back.
- Are you HIV positive?
- Have you ever tested positive for a sexually transmitted disease? If so, were you treated?
- How many sex partners have you had since your last STD and HIV tests?
- Have you had any STDs in the past six months?
- If you have been diagnosed with herpes or genital warts, are you having outbreaks? Are you being treated?
- Have you been at risk for HIV in the past six months?
- Do you have any objection to using a condom?
- Are you allergic to latex?
- Are you on any form of birth control?
- Which sexual activities do you want to engage in?