Even when people are entirely candid about their own sexual histories, there is no way to ensure that their previous sexual partners were honest with them—or, for that

matter, that they even asked previous partners about STI risk status. In view of these concerns, we strongly encourage couples who want to begin a sexual relationship to abstain from any activity that puts them at risk for STIs until both partners have had medical examinations and laboratory testing designed to rule out all STIs, including HIV. Taking this step not only reduces one’s chance of contracting an infection but also contributes immeasurably to a sense of mutual trust and comfort with developing intimacy. If cost is an issue, contact your campus health service or a public health clinic in your area; both of these venues can provide examinations and laboratory testing free of charge or on a sliding fee scale commensurate with your financial status.