We all know that love is blind… When we fall in love with someone, we have a tendency to only look at one side of the coin. Consequently, new lovers often tend to trust their partner when it comes to worrying about their risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs). A study conducted with more than 300 individuals at an STI clinic has led physicians to observe that this appreciation of a partner’s sexual health is often based on subjective measures. These include: the circumstances of their meeting; their level of education; or their perception of the level of intelligence of a lover.
These findings suggest that, even before HIV and STI tests have been conducted, many are those who consider they know their partner “well enough”. For example, 70% of those who were surveyed admitted that they probably considered their partner as being “without risk” if he or she was generally trustworthy. Unfortunately, reality does not necessarily reflect our perceptions. Therefore, both new sexual partners should undergo STI screening tests before they stop using condoms. In fact, because STI symptoms are often non-existent or cause very little discomfort, an individual may be entirely unaware that he or she is a carrier. In addition, it is very important for individuals who have multiple sexual partners to undergo STI screening tests on a regular basis.
Furthermore, we should not forget that this recommendation does not only apply to young adults, since older individuals are also known to sometimes engage in high-risk sexual behaviours. In fact, a considerable increase in the prevalence of STIs is currently noted in individuals over the age of 45. Even if an undesired pregnancy is not generally a concern in this age group, the risk of contracting an STI remains very real.
In conclusion, we should always, always use condoms, regardless of which age group we belong to. And when we want to stop using them, it is important that our decision be based on facts, not on perceptions. You should not hesitate to speak with a health professional if you have any questions regarding healthy sexual practices.