STDs: Dont Ask, Don’t Tell?

Sarah woke up one Sunday with an aching pain in her throat. The night before, she had felt a bit sick after a week of intense studying and paper-writing. But, deciding her sanity was more important than her health, she threw back a few shots of Jose and hit the town with her girlfriends.

Rubbing her eyes the following morning, she was greeted by a lightly snoring Derek at her side. Crap, she thought, Colin is going to be so pissed.

Disheveled, Sarah grabbed her scattered clothes and headed to the bathroom to put herself together before enduring the never pleasant walk of shame.

“Ohmigodd!” she practically shouted. Her neck was as thick as her head and her eyelids so swollen she might as well have just lost in the ring against Mike Tyson. Splashing some cold water on her face, Sarah ignored the absolute atrocity that was her appearance and briskly walked back to her house.

Loading up on DayQuill, NyQuill, and hot tea galore, she spent the day nursing her moral and physical hangover — as well as her cold. Hours later, still feeling lousy, Sarah went to the student health center and got a strep and a blood test. The result: She had mono.

Rather than worrying about the state of her body, or (more importantly) her liver, she immediately worried about her hookups. She had both Colin and Derek on a cycle, wasn’t serious with either of them, but had swapped enough saliva with both to infect their bodies with the pesky virus she now endured.

Do I tell them? she pondered, Or just risk it and hope they both get lucky?

This scenario is all too common in college. I think it’s more uncommon to not get mono during your four years at university than to get it. However, what happens when your condition is even more serious? What if you find out you have HPV, Herpes, Chlamydia, or some other STD? Do you tell your current partner (and previous ones), or do you keep the secret to yourself and hope no one finds out?

This ethical dilemma is a scary but extremely realistic issue. According to a 2007 Stanford research study, 1 in 4 college students has an STD. A lot of the young adults are completely unaware they are even spreading a disease because they have never gotten tested. In order protect your partner, you need to actually know you’re infected. If you’re worried about your current state of cleanliness, head to your student health center, campus hospital, or STD testing site.

This conversation, however, is focused on those who have peed in that cup, gotten pricked with that needle (no pun intended), and received extremely undesirable results.

Morally, it’s important to tell your partner about any contagious little packages you may be carrying, from mono to HIV. In order to make sure your partner is protected, you need to wise up and take responsibility for your condition. Doing this is mortifying and difficult, but necessary. If you are in the know and can prevent the spread of a virus or bacterial infection, you should. You would want your partner to tell you, right?

So, we all know there’s a right way to handle the situation. If you’re infected, man up, tell your partner(s), and grab the nearest box of condoms. Ethically, if you know, you tell. If you don’t want to tell future partners, then you probably shouldn’t be in bed with them to begin with. But, as evidenced by the statistics, a lot of people are keeping their dirty little secrets to themselves mentally… and spreading them all around physically.

Even though Sarah only had mono, she proceeded to text each of the boys letting them know about her illness. They each went and got tested, came out of the entire situation mono-free, and were extremely grateful she told them about her virus. Yes, it was not the most pleasant experience for any of the parties involved. Rather, it was awkward and uncomfortable. But, it was a necessary precaution they all needed to take in order to ensure their well-being.

So, how would you handle this situation: Do you have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, or do you share all of your down-below info before getting serious with a special friend? And if you have had to tell previous partners (including old flames, casual hook ups and – eep! – bitter ex-boyfriends), how did you do it?



  1. misnomer says:

    If you are having sex with more than one partner in the space of a year, you need to be using a condom. It's the only thing that will keep you safe from stds other than abstinince.

    While I'm not here to say whats right or wrong morally, I do believe that abstinence or monogamy is the best bet. Also, have a talk about stds before sex, not afterwards, when you think you might have one. That is the reason I do not agree with one night stands.

  2. anonymous says:

    not only is it irresponsible, it is also illegal to knowingly infect someone and not tell them you are a carrier of whatever disease you may have. now maybe for mono someone wouldn't care, but HIV? that's a huge deal. anyone else hear about that german pop star that was taken to court over infecting an ex-bf when she was aware she was HIV-positive?

  3. WouldLike2Know says:

    There is never a good reason not to tell your partner about a STD that you have. A guy in Oregon got infected with Herpes a couple years ago from a chick he says knew and didn't tell him, so he put her picture on the internet and set up an automated posting device where other people can do the same thing. Theres like thousands of people on it now

  4. Amanda says:

    I am in my fifth year of college and have never gotten mono or an std or really anything besides the flu. I think you need to ask if he or she says I'm not saying or you don't need to know then you reply with "well have fun alone."

  5. Lola says:

    I had mono, actively in my system, and during the two weeks where I had the highest risk of spreading it, I showed no symptoms. And yes I had made out with someone during that time. When I did find out I didn't rush out and tell him. Because if he had it it probably wouldn't show up for 4-7 weeks, and there was nothing he could do to prevent it. I did tell him eventually, and he never got it, but why rush

    STDs, treatable and possibly serious conditions are a whole different issue. You need to ask, and you need to be honest. If you have the least bit of doubt in your partner, don't do it.

    And Amanda who seems a bit judgey about people who get mono during college, my roommate and I both had it around the same time. Odds are one gave it to the other. And we probably picked drinking out of someone's glass or sharing food. That's the most common way it is spread. Not through sexual activity.

  6. Lucy says:

    Does mono really need to be grouped together with chlamydia? I got mono from sharing a glass with someone, not by fucking them.

  7. […] CollegeCandy: Don’t ask don’t tell policies when it comes to STDs on college campuses. […]

  8. Jake Thompson says:

    The legal thing comes to mind if you know you have a transmittable STD and you do not tell your sexual partner you can be charged with a crime To me though its more of an ethical thing you shouldn't even need to think about it you should tell them asap period

  9. Amanda says:

    Lola: I'm not saying mono is bad, hell I'm sure most people get it. But it was brought up in the blog so I'd thought I'd point it out that I never got it. I'm not judgey, judgey would of been "I'm not a slut and I dont go around kissing everyone so therefor I've never had mono" that would be rude and judgey in which case I would of felt fine with being called judgey. However I don't believe that is the case since as you pointed out that Mono is passed through many things and I know with you have room mates you tend to share things quite a lot…more so when one sucks at washing dishes (my roommate).

    So I apologize if I came off as "judgey" but I think you took my comment in the wrong way.

  10. Fuckyoucolleen says:

    And this is why people don't tell others about their statuses because of assholes like these people posting.. They feel rejected from society, ridicule, mistreated, feel hate from the "Clean" people and just flat out get talk about in the streets.. So I don't blame the people who got it for not telling.. most of the time it's not their fault they got the STD anyways.. I wish we were like other countries who are educated and not sheep like Americans are.. We got bigger issues to worried about and all u can do is talking bout STDs?!?! To all the folks who got it, keep spreading it so the world can know how you feel.. Put them same ignorant people in your shoes.. I honestly don't believe in God anymore because its too many unanswered questions about all this shit.. For those that don't deserve this doe, do be honest with them.. But 75% of this country is ignorant and u shouldn't have to disclosed your situation to no one because no one disclose theirs to the newly infected folks.. I got love for all my people clean or dirty.. Fuck this blog and fuck this bitch too.. She ain't shit just like the 8 9 people who commented on this shit.

  11. good blog :) more info on the mono virus at if required

  12. Anonymous says:

    Excellent excited analytical vision designed for fine detail and can foresee troubles before they occur.

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