Do I Have To Get Tested — Even If I Have No Symptoms?

By Kellie Spilman

Someone asked us: My significant other is HSV 2-positive. We were in an open relationship [at the time of his diagnosis], and although we use condoms when he has an outbreak, they always break. Now, I’m too scared to get tested. I’m not feeling any different than usual, so do I still have to get tested?

The most common symptom of herpes (also known as HSV) is actually no symptoms at all — or very mild symptoms that go unnoticed. So, even if you aren’t feeling any different, it’s still good to get tested, since you’ve been exposed — and any other sexual partners that you or your significant other have had should also get tested. Herpes, both HSV 1 and HSV 2, can be transmitted even if your partner isn’t currently having an outbreak, so you should always use a condom / dental dams to reduce the chance of transmission.

Let’s talk about this “condoms always break” thing. Condoms definitely shouldn’t always break. If you’re having a problem with condoms breaking, there are a few steps you can take to see what’s going wrong.

Quality control. Check to make sure the condoms aren’t expired, and make sure to store them properly (not anywhere that’s too hot or cold, and not squished in a wallet).

Check the fit. Regular condoms fit most penises, but in the unlikely event that one is too big or small, you can look for specially sized condoms or try a female condom instead.

When in doubt, add some lube. Lube is pretty great all around. A bit of lube on both the inside and outside of a condom can reduce the chances of breaking AND make sex feel better. Double win, right? Just make sure you’re using water or silicone-based lube, because anything with oil can make latex condoms more likely to break.

Leave some room for the final product. When you’re putting on a condom, make sure to pinch the tip so there’s room for semen once ejaculation occurs.

I know getting tested may sound scary, but the staff at your local Planned Parenthood health center will do everything they can to make it an easy process! And, once you know, you’ll be better able to stay healthy and keep any partners healthy, too. Learn more about getting tested for STDs.      
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