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To Sam

Is it safe for me to have unprotected sex?

Hi Sam

I know the title would look pointless, however I am thinking of having sex with my girlfriend.

We are both of age (17) and I overheard her talking with her friend saying she expects me to take our relationship further.

I'm wondering how can I:

a) Find out if I'm HIV negative

b) Ask her if she's HIV negative without offending her

Also, I know it would be good practi to wear a condom during sex, but if we both end up HIV negative and with no STDs, can we have unprotected sex with her on the pill to avoid pregnancy?

Please bear in mind that we both haven't had sex before.

I hope you can answer this question.



Ask Sam


​​Hi there,

Your sexual health is important and safe sex can protect you from sexually transmitted infections, STIs, and from unwanted pregnancy. It’s good to plan ahead and be prepared when you’re thinking about having sex so you know how to keep safe.

You might feel awkward or embarrassed, but talking about safe sex with your girlfriend or boyfriend gives you the chance to agree how you plan to protect yourselves from STIs and which type of contraception you’ll use. It’s important that you both consent to sexual activity and you understand what you are agreeing to.That’s why the age of consent is 16, to help keep you safe.

There are different types of STIs and they can be passed on through unprotected sex and other sexual activity, including oral sex, anal sex and sharing sex toys. Using a condom or a latex dam can protect you both from STIs, while condoms also protect you from pregnancy. You can get free condoms from sexual health clinics and GP surgeries but remember to follow the instructions in the pack and use them correctly to make sure you and your partner are properly protected.

You can’t tell who has an STI and anyone can get one, even if they’ve only had unprotected sex once.

You can choose to be tested for STIs at any time and it’s up to you whether you share your test results with your partner. You can let your partner know that you’d like them to have a test too but it’s their decision whether they’re happy to do that or not, and their decision whether they agree to share their results with you.

You can get tested for STIs at a sexual health clinic and you can search by postcode on NHS Choices for one near you. Remember that a negative test result only means that you didn’t have an STI at the time you took the test and you can be at risk if you have unprotected sex again.

If you test positive for an STI you can ask the clinic to contact your previous sexual partners for you without mentioning your name.

It’s important to get tested for all STIs, not just for HIV. Many STIs can be cured with antibiotics and although HIV has no cure, it can be treated to prevent it getting worse. Sometimes you’ll have symptoms if you have an STI but you might not if you have chlamydia or gonorrhea. They’re the most common STI’s in young people under the age of 25, so if you’re sexually active it's recommended that you get tested every year, or when you change sexual partner.

I hope the information has helped and if you want more advice you could talk to a counsellor at Childline or look at what other young people say on the Message Boards.

Take care,


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