About AIDS

Disclosing Sexual Diseases: Who Do You Trust?

Batelle Centers for Public Health in Seattle recently interviewed about 450 men who had been diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), asking them about their practices after diagnosis. About 1/4 continued to have sex, reports the journal Family Planning Practices, although 85% say they disclosed their status to their partners. Hey, that's still 15% who didn't tell.

At least that's better than the picture suggested about a year ago by another study. About 2/3 of the male respondents said that if they were diagnosed as HIV-positive, they would probably lie to prospective sex partners and hide their status, for fear of being turned down. Before you women get too smug, over half of the female respondents said they would probably lie, also. (The study did not ask whether either would insist on condom use.)

The bottom line is this: Know your prospective sex partner and use those condoms if you decide to leave abstinence or monogamy behind! Transmission of STDs - including HIV - is always a two-way street. Each partner has the responsibility to be honest with the other. But each partner also has the responsibility to look out for him or herself, too. That hot number you pick up at the bar may lie; these cold numbers don't.

Sandy Bartlett, Community Information/Education Coordinator
AIDS Services of Austin

ASA Info Line: 458-AIDS

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