But on the flip side, don't have the conversation the same time you're breathlessly debating whether you need a condom."It can be obviously very awkward and kill the moment if you disclose that in the heat of the moment," said Lisa Guiterman, communications consultant with the National Coalition for Sexual Health. Just keep it short, sweet and drama-free — which starts with choosing the proper setting."You definitely don't want to do it at dinner in a public place," Davis advised. "For those tempted to skim over the topic, consider that you're affecting your partner's health as well as your own — and that it could backfire.
"You're putting someone on the spot, and then they don't know how to react."Experts agree that maintaining normalcy and simplicity is key."It seems more of a doom and gloom if you make it this big, drawn-out conversation, when it's really an exchange of information," Davis said. Experts urge both patients and partners to take precautions.
If you don't know your own status, or that of your partner, use condoms every time, Gilbert said.
Dating with a sexually transmitted infection, or STI, can be difficult.
But it also might be getting easier as the stigma slowly ebbs, experts say.(The CDC reports that the terms STD and STI are often used interchangeably but that, medically, infections are only called diseases when they cause symptoms.
"What is important is (asking), is this an STI that you currently have?
"For example, chlamydia, syphilis or gonorrhea might have been encountered and addressed, the NCSH notes, but viral infections like HIV or genital herpes are lifelong health issues."If you follow the treatments (and) the doctor said it's safe for you to engage in sexual activity, then I think you can go about your life," Gilbert said.