How to talk about STIs - Play Safe
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Want to ask your partner to get an STI test? Or let someone know you’ve got an STI? Talking about STIs isn’t always easy – here’s some advice to make it easier.

There’s often a lot of shame around talking about STIs, but it’s great to see that this is changing as people realise that STI testing is just a normal part of a healthy and confident sex life.

Asking someone to take an STI test

Often in a monogamous relationship, people want to stop using condoms, but it’s important that you both get an STI test first. Not only does it make sure you’re keeping yourself healthy, but it will actually improve your sex life too.

How? Because who wants to be worrying about if their partner has an STI during sex? Getting tested lets you focus on the fun times instead.

Open and honest communications is one of the most important things in a relationship.

  • Make it clear that you’re not judging their sexual history or accusing them of anything
  • Getting tested is not about thinking they’ve got an STI, it’s just about wanting to look after your own health
  • Why not offer to go together? This shows support and that you’re not asking for anything that you won’t be doing yourself
  • Be honest with your partner about your sexual health and history. If you have an STI you’ll need to tell them so they can protect themselves
  • If they’re worried about the test or results they’ll get, reassure them that STI tests are quick and easy and that many STIs are easily treated
  • If they say no to getting tested, don’t feel pressured into sex without condoms – or any sex at all
  • Remember, if condoms have been the way you and your partner were avoiding pregnancy, it’s time to think about other contraceptive options

Telling someone you’ve got an STI

If you’ve been diagnosed with an STI it’s important that you tell any sexual partners that might be at risk. It might sound scary or embarrassing but it doesn’t have to be.

  • You can choose to inform your sexual partners yourself. Your doctor or nurse can have a chat with you about what to say or how to approach it or call the Sexual Health Infolink for support.
  • You can send a text or email using services such as Let them know, Better to know, The Drama Downunder. You can use these anonymously if you prefer.
  • If there are special circumstance a doctor or sexual health service may be able to contact someone for you directly. This can be done anonymously too.

If you want to know more call 1800 451 624 between 9:00am and 5:30pm Monday to Friday to talk with a sexual health nurse. It’s confidential. Or why not ask Nurse Nettie? It’s confidential and she’ll be back in touch within 24 hours.