If your doctor has diagnosed you with an STI, your treatment isn’t the only thing you need to consider. You also need to notify your sexual partners to ensure their health is looked after. This is called Contact Tracing and it’s the right thing to do.
Who do I tell?
Firstly, you need to think about which partners – past and current – need to be notified. If you’re not in a relationship you need to think about any recent partners you may have had.
Once you’ve done that then those identified need to be contacted. This can be done in 2 ways:
You can do it yourself – you can choose to notify your sexual partners yourself. Most people like to be told in person. But, you can also choose to text or email. Your doctor can assist you with what to say or how to approach it. Also, you can anonymously send a text or email using www.letthemknow.org.au.
Someone else can do it for you – you can give your doctor, or another health agency, the permission to notify your ‘contact’. This can be done anonymously too if that’s what you’d prefer.
Let them know is a website provides a range of tools and advice for contact tracing.
Why do you need to do this?
Firstly, it can prevent you from being re-infected. Remember, many STIs have no symptoms, so your partner may have an infection without even knowing. Secondly, it informs any previous partners you’ve had sex with so they can go and get tested. They have the right to know. Thirdly, it helps to reduce the number of people with STIs in the community altogether.
Contact them...even if you used condoms.
Yes, condoms are an effective form of protection against STIs, but you should still inform your partners so that they can get tested. Be honest.
Worried about telling them?
It can be difficult to raise and if you’re worried about telling your partners you can get someone else to tell them. Either your doctor or through a tool like let them know as mentioned above.
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