By Thomas Whitfield
Sexually transmitted infection rates are continuing to rise in the U.S., syphilis by 76% since last year. It’s important that we, as sexual beings, keep on top of our sexual health.
My best friend is cheating on his boyfriend, and I’m not supposed to know. They’ve been together for a couple years, and the other night my friend and I were out at a bar and his phone kept blowing up. I glanced over, and some D* pics and a name come up that I didn’t recognize. When he went to the bathroom, another text came up with an address. He came back, looked at his phone, said he wasn’t feeling well and left. Should I confront him? Tell his BF? I feel guilty, and I’m not sure why. Maybe I need to do something? – Male, Gay, 24
1). Although the evidence seems damning, you don’t know for sure. 2). This is really none of your business. I understand he’s your BFF, but if he isn’t telling you, then he probably doesn’t want you to know. 3). There is a good chance that if you tell his boyfriend, it’s going to end your friendship. 4). It’s also possible that this is part of their relationship agreement. Some couples present as monogamous when they really aren’t. There can be a lot of stigma around being in an open relationship or “monogamish,” so some couples lie about it. The one caveat I’d add is if you know for a fact there are substantial health risk behaviors happening—for example, your friend is having random sex with tons of partners and not using any form of protection—he could potentially acquire an infection or disease and harm his boyfriend. And even then, you should talk to your friend first. Putting others’ health at risk is really where I draw the line.
I cheated on my boyfriend, and now I have chlamydia. About a month ago I made a “mistake.” I’m putting that in quotes, because I don’t actually think it was a mistake; I really enjoyed it. I have zero intentions of telling him, but now I have an STI, and it’s possible he might have it too. I just got treated, and I’m freaking out. I don’t want to tell him, but I feel like I probably should. They offered a free service to tell your partners at the clinic. Should I just use that? – Male, Gay, 23
I think you’ve gotta bite the bullet and tell him, buddy. I know it’s not what you want to do, but having a clinic call him when you’re his boyfriend is not OK, and in a lot of ways might say what you really think of the relationship. Tell him, get him tested, and then work on the relationship. It sounds like this was an experience you enjoyed, so it’s probably good that you talk to your boyfriend about it and discuss how you can get your sexual needs met going forward without putting each other at risk.