Couple hugging after one partner tested positive for an STD

If my partner tested positive for an STD, do I need to be tested too?

Written on February 22, 2023 by Gillian (Gigi) Singer, MPH, Sexuality Educator & Certified Sexologist. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are very common and affect millions of people every year. When one partner tests positive for an STD, it’s natural and understandable to wonder if the other partner would also have it.

So, if one partner tests positive for an STD, yes, the other partner should be tested as well.

Are you guaranteed to have the STD if your partner has it?

The answer to this question depends on several variables.

If you and your partner(s) consistently and correctly use barrier methods of protection (internal condoms, external condoms, or dental dams) during every sexual encounter, you may not have contracted their active STD.

However, even barrier methods like internal condoms, external condoms, or dental dams are not 100% effective at preventing all STDS as they may not cover the entire surface area of the groin, thus leaving the skin exposed. Other parasitic infections, like pubic lice (aka “crabs”) live in pubic hair, which is still exposed.

If you do not use barrier methods of protection during ALL forms of sexual contact, including oral, anal, and vaginal, you are at a much higher risk of contracting your partner’s active STD.

How common are STDs?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 1 in 5 people in the U.S. have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) [1].

STIs and STDs are common health concerns everywhere in the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over one million STIs are acquired every day worldwide [2]. Below are a few statistics about the prevalence of different STIs around in the world:

  • The most common bacterial STI is chlamydia, and the WHO estimates that around 131 million new cases of chlamydia occur each year globally [2].
  • The second most commonly reported bacterial STI is gonorrhea, and the WHO estimates that there are around 78 million new cases each year [2].
  • The WHO estimates that there are around 6 million new cases of syphilis each year worldwide. Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can cause serious health consequences when untreated [2].
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a viral STD that can lead to genital warts and certain cancers. It’s incredibly common — approximately 90% of men and women will contract HPV at some point in their lives [2].
  • In the United States, the CDC estimates that there were more than 2 million trichomoniasis infections in 2018 [3].

Why get tested?

There are many reasons why you should be consistently testing according to medical guidelines and your healthcare provider’s recommendation. In the case of a partner testing positive, you are at a high risk of also having an active STD/STI, especially if you aren’t consistently and correctly using barrier methods and other safer sex practices. Below are some of the reasons that you should get tested:

  • Many STIs and STDs do not present any symptoms, and “many people with STIs may not experience symptoms and may not know they are infected” [2]. For example, only about 30% of people with trichomoniasis develop any symptoms [3].
  • Every year, HPV is associated with more than 311,000 deaths from cervical cancer. As mentioned before, some strains of HPV will be contracted by the vast majority of sexually active people; testing and consultation can confirm you aren’t at risk of cancer [2].
  • In 2016, it was estimated that 1 million pregnant people were infected with syphilis, which resulted in over 350,000 adverse (negative) birth outcomes [2].
  • Some STIs/STDs, when untreated, can affect fertility and cause pregnancy complications [2].
  • If you and your partner(s) have an STI, you may pass it back and forth to one another.

How to test

STI and STD testing can feel intimidating and even embarrassing, but Everlywell removes some of the burden by allowing you to get tested from home. Everlywell’s comprehensive STD tests will test for chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis, trichomoniasis, and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Additionally, Everlywell offers individual tests for HIV, trichomoniasis, hepatitis C, syphilis, trichomoniasis, and chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Protecting your sexual health

Still not sure if you should get tested? Check out Everlywell’s guide to testing for STDs and take the “Should I Get STD Tested?” quiz.

If you have concerns about your sexual health or think you have an STD/STI, consult with a healthcare provider through the online STD treatment option via Everlywell's Virtual Care Visits. Virtual Care Visits are covered by many insurance providers and can provide you with prescriptions when appropriate.

How do you know if you should be tested regularly for STDs?

How to deal with an STD in a relationship: key tips to keep in mind

How to tell your partner you have an STD


  1. CDC estimates 1 in 5 people in the U.S. have a sexually transmitted infection. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Published January 25, 2021. Accessed February 21, 2023.
  2. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). World Health Organization. URL. Accessed February 21, 2023.
  3. STD Facts - Trichomoniasis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Published April 25, 2022. Accessed February 21, 2023.
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