Jake and Tim

Tim had been dating Jake a few weeks when he started a conversation about sexual health – which led to testing together.

Bringing up a conversation about sexually transmitted infections can feel awkward – especially in new relationships – however for Tim and Jake, talking more openly about sexual health protected them from uncomfortable symptoms and opened up an honest conversation about sex they both benefitted from.

Tim said; “I met Jake on a dating app and after a few dates the two if us really hit it off. I soon knew that things were going to lead to a sexual relationship and needed to ensure we weren’t going to give each other any STIs. I began talking about sexual partners – leading into when I was last tested – and eventually suggested we both go together for a sexual health screen. Jake was a little taken aback at first but he soon appreciated my concern and need to protect each other.”

In a previous long-term relationship Tim was passed chlamydia which he didn’t discover and therefore treat for six months. This has made him want to be more honest and open about sex with potential new partners – a confidence which is growing the more sex is talked about.

“What happens before a new relationship is in the past. I’d had causal partners before meeting Jake and hadn’t worn a condom at all times. I didn’t want to risk starting our relationship off with potential STIs involved. It’s better to be safe than sorry!”

Not all relationships start with a conversation about testing but until couples are tested, it’s encouraged everyone in new relationships use condoms for protection against STIs.

“When we were tested, my results came back positive for gonorrhoea but thankfully because we were using condoms, Jake’s results came back negative. Now I’ve received treatment and we know we’re protected. Opening up about sexual health has allowed us to feel more comfortable discussing sexual pleasure and made our relationship much stronger.

Visiting a clinic to ensure you have good sexual health is no different to visiting the doctor because you are ill or are worried about a health condition. STI testing is healthcare – and taking responsibility for your sexual health is nothing to be embarrassed about.

Testing is free, quick and easy and can be done at your local sexual health clinic. Visit the find a clinic page to find your nearest Spectrum clinic in Wakefield, Barnsley or Wigan and Leigh.

#TestTogether

If you have been affected by this story and would like support please contact your local clinic.