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Should You Get STI Tests In A Long-Term Relationship?

Should You Get STI Tests In A Long-Term Relationship?

Should You Get STI Tests In A Long-Term Relationship?

When you should get tested, regardless of your relationship status

Daye Wave Divider

Illustrations by

Erin Rommel


15th December 2020

Sex is great, but it doesn’t come without its risks – sexually transmitted infections (STIs) being one of them. 

Staying on top of your sexual health is really important, and anyone who is sexually active should be getting regular STI tests, regardless of their relationship status. 

“Your sexual health is so important,” says Dr. Sotonye West, an obstetrics and gynaecology doctor and creator of the @gynaegossip Instagram account. 

“It’s something that everyone should value and look after. There is a horrible taboo surrounding STIs that can make people want to hide, ignore or not mention symptoms and not get tested, which ultimately could lead to further spread of these infections.”

Although being in a monogamous, long-term relationship can limit your risk of getting an STI, it doesn’t guarantee that you won't contract an infection. Many STIs can still be passed on even when you're in a relationship, so it's important to get tested regularly. 

How long does it take for an STI to show up?

It depends on the STI. In some cases, symptoms can develop within a few days or weeks of contracting the infection, but sometimes STIs can be latent for months, or even years. 

Most STIs are asymptomatic, so you may not know you have one unless you get tested. If you do have symptoms, they may be:

  • unusual vaginal discharge 
  • pain or burning when you urinate
  • itches, rashes, lumps or blisters around your vulva or anus
  • pain and/or bleeding during or after sex
  • bleeding between periods
  • pain in the lower abdomen

Many common STIs have latency periods. “Some STIs, like syphilis and genital herpes, can go unnoticed for several years,” explains Dr. West.

“Genital herpes can be contracted during sexual activity with someone who either has active herpes lesions or is asymptomatically shedding the virus. Once you have caught it, you may never get a flare of herpes ever, may get one episode or get recurrent episodes. You may even get your first flare 10 years after catching it.” 

STI test

Can you get an STI in a long term relationship?

Yes! Even if you’re in a long-term, monogamous relationship, it’s possible for you or your partner to have a previously undiagnosed and untreated STI. 

An STI doesn’t necessarily mean your partner cheated on you, it could mean that either you or your partner didn’t get tested before the relationship, and symptoms are starting to appear.

“Being tested in a long-term relationship is just as important as being tested in short-term relationships or with casual partners,” adds Dr. West.

Many people worry that getting tested for STIs if they’re in a long-term relationship is a sign of distrust, but that’s definitely not the case! Getting tested regularly not only looks after your own sexual health, but also that of your partner(s). So really, getting tested is a gesture of love and respect.

How often should you get an STI test?

The general rule of thumb is for all sexually active people with new or multiple sex partners to get tested after every new sexual partner, especially if you’re having unprotected sex (not using barrier contraceptive methods like condoms). Failing that, getting tested every six months or annually is the next best thing. 

If you’re in a monogamous, long-term relationship, Dr. West says getting an STI test at least once a year is good practice. Meanwhile, people in open or polyamorous long-term relationships who are having sex with multiple partners should have regular STI tests, just as if they were single. 

Why you should get tested

There’s no shame in contracting an STI (it happens), but when it comes to your sexual health, ignorance is not bliss. Many STIs can cause pain or discomfort, and if left untreated they can not only be passed onto others, but also permanently damage your health and fertility, especially in women.

“If chlamydia spreads to the womb, ovaries or fallopian tubes, it can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), which in turn can cause problems getting pregnant, chronic pain and increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy,” explains Dr. West.

What does an STI test involve? 

During the visit, you’ll fill out a patient form, after which the doctor or nurse will ask you about your medical and sexual history. They’ll ask you questions about your sex life, like when you last had sex, if you have any current sexual partners, whether you have symptoms, etc. 

Testing for an STI might involve: 

  • a urine sample
  • a blood sample (if testing for syphilis and HIV)
  • a visual examination of your genitals and anus (if you have active genital herpes or genital warts)
  • swabs from the vagina (you can often do these yourself).


  • Anyone who is sexually active is at risk of contracting an STI. 
  • You should get regular STI tests, regardless of your relationship status. 
  • Most STIs don’t show symptoms and can be dormant for years.

Daye tampons are manufactured in accordance with medical device standards, including ISO13485 and GMP. In order for a diagnosis to be confirmed, test results from the Diagnostic Tampon should be considered by a licensed healthcare provider alongside a patient's symptoms and medical history. Like every other diagnostic test, lab results are not sufficient for a diagnosis. Daye offers customers the option to connect with independent CQC-regulated healthcare providers virtually and in-person for a confirmed diagnosis. All prescriptions and treatments provided through the Daye platform are issued by third-party, independent pharmacists, who are also regulated under CQC and GPhC.