Telling your partner you have an STI

Finding out that you have an STI or another sexual health condition that can be passed on from someone else is not a nice experience. But luckily, most STIs can be successfully treated – especially identified early.

If you’ve tested positive, your sexual partner(s) from the last six months need to know. Many people who have an STI do not notice anything wrong and, left untreated, STIs can lead to serious health problems. Telling them will help them to get tested and any treatment they need and may also stop you from getting infected again.

Most health services call the process of telling your partners “partner notification.” It is a completely confidential process.

When will this happen?

You usually get asked about partner notification when you receive your results and find out that you’ve tested positive for an STI, and when receiving treatment. This conversation will be with a healthcare professional (sexual health advisor, nurse, or doctor).

If you have attend the clinic with someone else, we usually suggest that you are seen on your own to give you the privacy you need to talk openly.

What I be asked?

The healthcare professional will ask you some questions about your current and previous sexual partners from the last six months. This includes their contact details such as their name, date of birth or age, telephone number and where they live.

Don’t worry if you don’t know all of these details but it’s very important that you give us as much information as you can so we can make sure they get tested and get any treatment they might need. Our staff will never judge you and whatever you say will be confidential. So you can be completely open and honest.

How will my partner find out?

You have two options. Most people choose to tell their partners themselves but we can also tell them for you. This should be offered by all NHS sexual health services.

  1. If you want to tell your partner(s), your health professional will discuss how you will let them know. We normally give you a ‘contact slip’ for each partner containing information about your infection. Your partner(s) can take to their nearest sexual health clinic to make sure they receive the right tests and treatment. The contact slip does not have your name on it. We will arrange to talk with you (usually by telephone) after you have spoken to them to check how this went and whether your partner has attended a clinic. However, we will not be able to give you any information about their attendance
  2. If you would like your health care professional to tell your partner(s), we will use the contact details you have given us. This is normally by sending out a text and then a discussion by telephone. They will be told that they have been in contact with someone who has an STI but will never be given any personal information about you.  They will be advised to attend the service for screening

If you would like to know more a specific STI treatment, make sure you check out our pages that tell you more about each type of STI.

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