Let's face it, having a sexually transmitted disease isn't fun and neither is telling all your sexual partners. STDs would be less common if people shared their diagnosis with all of their sexual partners so they could get tested too. Talking to your partners is important because it will help take care of your health, the health of your sex partners and the entire community.
Antibiotics can treat syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia and, if treated early, these infections cause little or no permanent damage. However, if left untreated, they can cause severe health problems. Syphilis can cause extensive damage to internal organs and the neurological system (brain). Chlamydia can cause infertility and if gonorrhea spreads to the blood or joints it can cause death. Notifying your partners so they can get treated can be life saving.
During the counseling phase at the Sexual Health Clinic you will get a card to give to all your sex partners within the last 60 days. The card will allow them to get priority scheduling and treatment at the Sexual Health Clinic. Your information will remain confidential and will not be shared with any of your sex partners.
For patients with syphilis, a case worker will assist you in notifying all your sex partners. During health district notification, we will not provide any confidential information, including your name.
When talking to your partners about your diagnosis, it's important not to place blame because it makes people defensive. The conversation is about sexual health - yours, your partners' and the community. If left untreated, not only can these infections cause permanent damage, but they can make it much easier to transmit HIV from sex partner to partner. It's time to take care of yourself and take care of your community.
If you’re nervous about talking to your partners, here are a few tips to help you gain confidence:
Role-play with a trusted friend or in front of a mirror. Practice saying the words out loud.
Choose a neutral setting where you won’t be distracted or interrupted.
Speak with confidence. You are not lecturing, blaming or confessing; you’re sharing personal information.
Remain calm. If you’re upset, your partner is more likely to get upset too.
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. In addition to talking to you personally, they can mail you brochures and information to give your partners.