What Can I Say to a Friend Who's Having Unprotected Sex?
A close friend — we've been friends for a long time —
told me she's been having sex a lot and that she doesn't use protection. What
should I do? –JJ*
First, it's obvious you're a caring friend. No one wants to see a friend get an
STD or have her life put
on hold by an unplanned pregnancy. Both of these are possible when a person has unprotected
But sex is a topic that can be tough to talk about, even with friends we've known
a long time. So where do you start?
Tell your friend that you want to talk about something personal. Find a private
place to chat. Mention that you were visiting our site and you came across information
about STDs, like herpes
and HIV. Say that some
of the stuff you read caused you to feel worried about her. For example, it's not
always possible to tell if a partner has an STD.
Sometimes people don't realize they have an STD. They may tell partners they are
OK because they honestly don't know otherwise. But they can still pass the infection
on. Protection from STDs is one reason why even people who use birth
control methods like the Pill need to use a condom
When someone with an STD doesn't get treatment, the disease can get worse or cause
other health problems. It's tempting to put off finding out about STDs. But that can
cause bigger problems — like not being able to have children — later on.
Tell your friend you're not trying to lecture or play mom. You just really care
about her. Encourage her to make an appointment with her health care provider to talk
about how to prevent STDs and pregnancy. Or your friend can visit a local clinic like
Planned Parenthood. Health clinics often provide low-cost birth control and testing
for STDs and pregnancy without any need for insurance.
You can even go with your friend if she'd like some support.
Good luck! You can't make your friend use protection — although she may be
reaching out to you because she realizes she should. No matter what she decides, though,
congratulate yourself for speaking up, knowing what's smart, and being a caring friend.