What percentage of people get regular STD tests?

Anytime there’s been a discussion of number of past sexual partners on this board, the most common answer is “I’m more concerned that they have a clean bill of health.”

All well and good, but what percentage of sexually active adults actually have regular STD tests? If I were to guess, I would say that maybe 0.3% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 get tested between partners (if ever), and that’s probably a generous estimate.

Now sure, you may say “just be safe and wear a condom,” but people rarely (if ever) use a condom when having oral sex, and herpes can be transmitted by something as innocent as kissing. And given such ambiguous terms as “hooking up” it can be almost impossible to gauge through casual conversation if someone is sexually promiscuous or not.

When I randomly hooked up with my ex a while back, I ended up not going all the way with her. Granted, there were a lot of reasons for me not to have sex with her that night, but at one point I actually said the words “maybe you should get tested before we have sex.” Quite the mood killer. But she had told me on a previous occasion that she and her ex had had a few condom breakage incidents, and he had cheated on her twice over the course of their relationship, so God knows what he may have been carrying.

So how realistic is it to ask someone in their early 20s for proof of sexual health?

I think it really depends on the circumstances. Obviously it is important, but I really thing there is definitely a way to tactfully bring it up.

Of all my friends in their twenties, I was the first to get tested (at 23) and tested myself most frequently (3 times since then). A good friend of mine, who is getting married, discovered a few months ago that his fiancee spontaneously contracted herpes :eek: Whats even more :eek:-worthy is that he told me he isn’t even using any kind of barrier method for protection, figuring since she’s the only person he’s ever going to have sex with, he doesn’t care if he gets herpes :smack:

It’s realistic when you’re close to the person and going to be having either lots of sex with them, or unprotected sex. I got tested when things got serious with my last gf and emailed her the results. I think your .3% estimate is a little low as I know a fair number of people who get tested between SOs.

As for oral/herpes etc… ya plays the game ya takes your chances. Norms certainly don’t allow you to ask a girl you met at a bar if she has the syph. If you’re not cool with taking the risk… well then.

I’ve had quite a few STD tests and considering how much of a slag I’ve been in my time am surprised that I’ve only had chlamydia the once. I’ve not been tested for quite a while because I’ve not been sexually active, but now that I’ve started again I’ll probably have a routine check up in a few months.

I do find some people’s approach to safe sex a bit strange, a friend of mine was talking about how she uses condoms with a new partner for the first few months but when it’s serious swap to the pill. She doesn’t actually get herself or her partner tested before she does that though, so she might as well not be using condoms from the start. I wonder how many other people take this approach.

Well, for that matter, how many people are sticklers for safe sex in general? A guy I used to work with bragged about all the girls he got with (mostly off myspace and match.com) and of the 2 dozen or so he got with in the two years I knew him, he didn’t use a condom with at least 80% of them.

Granted, these girls never seemed to be terribly bright nor well-grounded, so I certainly hope they aren’t representative of the majority of single women in terms of how easy it is to get away with not using a condom. But then, considering how often people hook up while drunk, I wouldn’t be surprised if condoms were simply forgotten in those instances.

I’ve only explicitly gotten tested twice, but I give blood regularly, and I know that they screen for HIV, Hepatitis, Syphilis, etc., so I could say that I’m “tested” every few months.

Note: I know that the blood donation screening is not without false negatives, and I would never give blood if I thought I might have an infection, nor should anyone else. But, still, it’s a point on the graph that makes me feel pretty damned sure I’m clean.

I’ve only gotten tested once, like 7 years ago :eek:, when I and an ex wanted to stop using condoms (she got tested aswell).

Maybe I should get a new appointment.

It’s very possible to be so used to using condoms you use them while drunk. Many people remember to brush their teeth when drunk, why would they forget to use condoms?
I got fully-tested every year when I was young and foolish. I’m old and monogamous these days, so I’ve stopped bothering.

What she said. In college I got the full run of tests at least yearly and openly encouraged my friends to do so, plus I used condoms each time.