Damn he is fine. Skin so chocolate you want to lick it. Pretty, straight white teeth. He wears a suit better than a Georgio Armani mannequin. He has a walk that gives Denzel, Idris Elba and President Obama a run for their money. All his courting rituals are in place. In fact, he gets an A in the chivalry category because he walks on the outside of the sidewalk, opens the door, and pulls out your chair. And he’s smart. His conversation is equally on point and he’s funny. All signs point to the fact that homeboy is WINNING. So after the fifth or sixth date, you allow him to cross the threshold of your abode. Heavy petting ensues; mood music is playing in the background. The lights go off, and your clothes are on a jumbled heap on the floor!

But hold up. Pause. Record scratch.

In moments like these do you actually take the time to examine your partner’s male member? Have you ever worked an examination into your foreplay? I mean really take a good long gander, lifting the scrotum sacks, looking at the head and the shaft to make sure that all is in tact from what the naked eye can detect? Would you or have you ever required an STD screening from a potential or current partner? In the throes of passion, admittedly these thoughts are not necessarily on the forefront of our brain and could severely dampen the mood, but the conversation is an important one to have nonetheless.

According to the Center for Disease Control 1 in 16 black men will contract HIV in their lifetime (and 1 in 32 black women). Moreover, 1 in 5 American adults and adolescents are infected with Herpes, and it should also be noted that HSV 1 (herpes in the mouth) can be transmitted during oral intercourse, causing genital herpes. Neither of these sexually transmitted diseases are curable. Other common sexually transmitted diseases as Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Syphilis, which are also very prevalent, particularly in the African American community, can also all be carried in the mouth.

Ready to broach the conversation now?

For better or for worse the initial conversation could be a bit awkward, but the potential long range implications of being infected with a STD can be totally preventable by initiating the idea of getting tested early on in a relationship before sex even occurs.  But before delving in headfirst into this conversation understand that 1 in 2 sexually active adults will contract an STD by the age of 25, and although all STDs are treatable and most are curable, some are not. Approaching the discussion from this vantage point can ease the awkwardness.

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