Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) or Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are a modern reality. They are prevelant within our communities and affect general health, reproductive capacity and the lives of those infected. The participation in risky or unprotected sexual activity by you or your former spouse increases your chances of having acquired an STD.
Concerns about STDs always arise from your own sexual activity. In a divorce, with a plethora of stresses and life changing events (moves, new financial realities, parenting plan decisions, etc.) discovering that your ex has had an affair, or affairs, is one more thing to worry about.
How prevalent are extra-marital affairs? It depends on who you ask – reported rates vary from 3% – 70%. The best round-up of this stat is in Karlyn Bowman’s article for Forbes, Just How Many Spouses Cheat.
But the statistics do not really matter if you have discovered the reality of an affair. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (also referred to as Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are serious business.
The most common STDs are:
- Genital Herpes
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)
These can lead to inconvenience and discomfort or they can lead to serious health complications, including cancer and other terminal conditions.
Testing for these diseases can also impact your life insurance coverage.
It is important for separating parents to maintain their own health. An STD check can reduce your stress by confirming you are clear of any infections – as well, if there is an infection – you can take action and deal with it properly.
Before you Finalize Your Divorce
If you have been infected by an STD and are going to have issues obtaining insurance or expenses with treatment, it is in your interests to discover this information before your final settlement has been negotiated. Finding out after you have finalized your divorce that you have an STD from your ex is not a good place to be. The STD may involve anything from a few hundred dollars of treatment costs to insurance coverage denials and life changing medical conditions. Suing for damages from an STD afterwards is going to be difficult – see Divorce360’s article on spouses that are trying. However, knowing that you are going to incur costs or have ongoing issues will impact your negotiations and let you make more informed decisions about planning your future.
Before you Re-Start Dating
As a separated parent, you will sooner or later return to the dating scene and the topic of STDs is on everyone’s minds. As separated parents talk to their new paramours about their cheating ex’s, questions about STDs will surface. It is a major dating faux pas to infect your new partner with an STD – not a good way to start a new relationship.
Where to get tested?
In Canada, most provincial health plans will cover the testing. In the U.S., the Fair Parenting Project has established a relationship with the most cost efficient and private method of testing with the FDA approved STDCheck service. This is a service with labs across the United States. They are offering separating parents a reduction of $10.00 on their fees (http://www.stdcheck.com/?coupon=10OffOrder). Get tested for yourself, your future and your children.