We’ve recently had an influx of questions from people who are seeking advice on notifying their partner that they’ve had a positive test result. So, with guidance from our medical staff and other experts, we’ve put together a partner notification tip sheet based on the most frequently asked questions.
Why should I tell my sexual partners about my positive result?
If you have an STD, there is a good chance that your recent sexual partners are infected too. It will be important for them to get tested so that they can know their status, get treated and prevent further transmission. Talking honestly with current or potential sexual partners about a positive STD result can be tough, but telling your partner shows them that you respect and care about their health.
Although they may initially be disappointed, shocked or even angry, disclosing a positive STD diagnosis will help protect you from being re-infected and protect your partner from the consequences of an untreated infection such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) that may lead to infertility. Being honest and upfront with your partner gives them the opportunity to make the appropriate choices to protect their sexual health.
How do I tell my partner I have an STD?
Educate yourself: Learn as much as you can regarding your positive result from trusted sources like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or give us a call. Our health care providers are here to help. You will feel a lot more in control of the situation as you learn about your diagnosis. You’ll be able to answer your partners initial questions and will have resources to share in case he/she has questions you can’t answer.
Timing is everything: You definitely want to have this conversation face to face – no texts, e-mails or voice mails. You also want to avoid sharing this information when you and your partner are in a sexual situation. Find a time and place where you can give each other your undivided attention and you have enough time to fully explain and discuss the situation. If you are concerned that your partner may react negatively, choose a safe, public location to share the news.
Start the conversation: “I’ve tested positive for [STD]. You should get tested to see if you need treatment too”.
Give your partner all of the information you’ve learned. Let them know which infection they may have been exposed to, encourage him/her to complete an STD test even if there are no symptoms present, and note the importance of getting tested as soon as possible. The longer they wait, the greater the chance for complications to arise. Sharing your testing experience or offering to go with your partner may ease some of his/her anxiety about the situation.
Prefer to notify your partner anonymously?
You may be able to get help from a local physician, hospital or county health department. Many healthcare providers are willing to confidentially contact former partners on your behalf. Talk to your health care provider about this option or find your local health department.
There are also notification options using eCards. You’ll need to supply the name of the STD your partner 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.
Need more advice?
For more resources about talking to your partner, call the CDC National STD Hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (800) 227-8922 or (800) 232-4636.
If you have any questions, contact one of our counselors at (888) 215-9543. We talk to people who have these kinds of questions and more every day. As always, we’re here to help.