What to do when waiting for an STI to clear

Of all the STIs, HIV has truly made the biggest impact on the gay community. Looking at the devastation left by the virus and how it continues to affect the world today, it’s no wonder why HIV has taken centre stage, with other STIs somewhat taking a back seat.

Though if you love making love, then STIs are a fact of life and while you can go long periods without contracting any, sooner or later one might pop up.

While as a general rule you’ll need to avoid sexual contact until your treatment has finished, you don’t necessarily have to put yourself into a cone of isolation, AKA get thee to a nunnery.

sister act

That last line was mostly so I could include a Sister Act gif, but the advice stands! Here are some ways you can navigate the short period where you are out of the game, but still may be pursued by some doting admirers.

Do something that doesn’t involve dick

Boys are dick-stracting. And that distraction can get you in all sorts of funny business. While you’re waiting for your STI to be gonorrhoea with the wind, there are tonnes of things you could fill your time (and hands) with.

Try that new restaurant with some friends (the ones that don’t give you a hard-on)

Monkeys eating food out of trays in baby chairs

Do something creative

Dolphin slides up out of a pool to paint portrait holding the brush in it's beak

Get physical

Go square-eyed on a Netflix binge

Sponge-bob square eyed watching tv while eating popcorn

Or just masturbate! AKA Netflix and Chill (the solo edition)

a hand polishing a hard wood knob at the end of a bed post

There is more to life than sex (shock horror!) and while an STI can be frustrating, look at it as an opportunity to do and try all the other beautiful things life has to offer. Go on, surprise yourself.

Get off the Grind

How about giving your ‘swipe left’ or ‘tapping’ skills a break and swipe out of hook-up apps for a little bit? All those boys just waiting to eat meet you can be as tempting as a brunch session with bottomless mimosas not to mention how easy it is to jump onto Tinder or Grindr.

Save yourself the temptation; you’ll also be doing your phone’s battery life a favour! Or if temptation is too much, then at least be upfront with the guys looking for ‘Right Now’ #tapthatlater

I can’t host tonight because…

Have an excuse or two up your sleeve and when ‘the boy comes a texting’ you won’t be caught out.

Perhaps your family is visiting this week.

Daria at dinner with her family

Or you had some food that is giving you some major gastrointestinal repercussions.

Maya Rudolf in a wedding dress signaling traffic to drive around her as she defecates in the street wearing a wedding dress

Maybe your best friend just had a bad break up?

Chameleon emphatically looking and hugging

The point is, you got this and saying no in a non-harsh way isn’t so bad.

Honesty (could be) the best policy

They say that honesty is the best policy – so if you’re pretty keen on him and he’s a decent guy, maybe telling him the truth won’t be such a big deal. You can still tell him how purdy his eyes are, and you are uber-keen to get it onnnn but you’ll just have to be patient.

I mean, if a guy were to say that to me, it would show how confident he is and that he’s looking after his sexual health. He knows about his status and getting treated, and he’s not afraid to have difficult, awkward conversations.

Good things can come to those who wait.

Have more questions about STIs?

Got a question about STIs? We have resources available to help you grapple with a surprise visitor:

On PrEP? However you take PrEP, keep in mind that it doesn’t protect you from STIs other than HIV. Condoms, however, can help protect you from other STIs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and syphilis.

You can also view our frequently asked questions for information on a range of topics.