STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections), also known as STDs, are stigmatized in our society. We associate having an STI with being immoral or promiscuous. This may not be the case, but it still makes telling your current, former, or new partner about an STI difficult.
If you think you may have exposed a partner to your STI or gotten an STI from your partner you should tell them.
Most importantly your partner has a right to know the risks involved. Would you want your partner to tell you if you might be sick?
You should not wait too long to tell your partner, but you should be prepared to make it easier on you and your partner. Below is a list of tips to make the conversation go more smoothly:
Finding out you have an STI when you're in a faithful relationship can be unsettling and confusing. Do not let this turn into anger.
By talking to your partner honestly, you may be able to overcome this, and avoid a difficult situation.
Talk to your health care provider. They should be able to confidentially contact former partners on your behalf.
There are also notification options using eCards. You will be asked to provide what STI they may have been exposed to. The card will inform your partner of the situation and provided information about the condition and local testing and treatment options.
When entering a new relationship get tested before having sex. This will help prevent infecting one another and having to have this conversation when it is already too late. You or your partner could have an STI even if there are no symptoms.
Counseling Center (206) 543-1240
Hall Health Center (206) 685-1011
Students may schedule an appointment with Kathy Slettebak, the Family Planning Counselor in Women's Clinic regarding how to talk with a partner. UW students are not charged for visits with either the counselor or the triage nurses.
CDC National STD & AIDS Hotlines: 1-800-342-2437
Let's Talk about Sex (UW, The Daily)
TIPS for telling your partners (inSpot.org)
Talking with your partners (LA County Public Health)
SexInfoOnline (Site is maintained by university students from the University of California, Santa Barbara who have studied advanced topics in human sexuality.)
How to Talk to Your Partner if You Have an STD (Rutgers University)
STD Partner Notification: What If I've Been Exposed to an STD? (Texas Department of Health brochure)
inSPOT: The First Online STD Partner Notification System Using Electronic Postcards. (PloS Medicine. October 21, 2008)
Authored by: Nikole H. Allen