DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my friends has had many sexual partners in the last year. She does not always use protection, even with one-night stands or much older men. She is on birth control and does not seem to care that she is not protected from sexually transmitted diseases. I think she should go to a clinic to get tested because she's had over a dozen sexual partners in the last year. I am not concerned about her sexual promiscuity. I just think she should make sure she does not have any STDs. Is there a polite way to tell someone they should get tested? She's 19 years old. I'm worried about her. -- Don't Risk It, Detroit
DEAR DON'T RISK IT: Because you are not standing in judgment of your friend, you have a better chance of getting her to hear you. Invite your friend to hang out with you. During your private time together, bring up your concerns. Tell her that you are worried about her health because you know that it is very easy to get a sexually transmitted disease if you do not use protection. Offer to go with her to a clinic to get tested. Point out that the clinic will not reveal the results to her parents. On the flip side, the clinic can provide her with treatment if she needs it.
If your friend is willing to talk about her sexual behavior with you, try to get her to open up about what she's been doing and why. Ask her if she would like to talk about it with anyone. A guidance counselor at her school could be a good option.