Anonymous asked: I am a virgin and I have every reason to believe that my boyfriend is too, as I am his first girlfriend. We're beginning to move a bit faster on the physical side of the relationship and I was wondering if we should still get ourselves tested for STDs and STIs before we go any further? I'm as sure as I can be that we're both virgins.
Even if neither of you have had any kind of sexual conduct (remember, everyone’s definition of “virgin” is different, and anal sex, intercourse, oral sex, and manual sex can all pass STIs) some STIs can be passed through nonsexual means. Herpes (especially in the form of cold sores) can be passed through kissing or even just touching a sore and touching someone else. Some forms of Hepatitis can be passed through contaminated food or water which is why it’s important to get immunized and tested if you travel internationally. HIV, herpes, HPV and some other STIs can be passed through childbirth.
Although some STIs (namely herpes and HPV) don’t get tested for in regular STI testing because they’re difficult to test for, it’s still a good idea to get tested and because many STIs are difficult to test for it’s important to use barrier methods like condoms and dental dams and get a pap smear every two years and watch out for any symptoms of herpes or HPV.
I tell everyone to get tested before they become sexually active if for no other reason than to get used to getting tested. It’s a good idea to get tested in between every new partner and once a year. That’s because it can take years for an STI to show up, even in a monogamous relationship.