How Do I Tell Someone I Have An STI?

November 4, 2020

There is a lot of stigma and misinformation about STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections), and so, it can be extremely uncomfortable for patients to discuss them.

Yet, we do need to talk about them.

It is agreed that discussing sexual health openly is not what we are taught to do. Hence, we need to break down the stigma associated with STIs as it has only led to a rise in the incidence of these diseases. It can prevent patients from receiving timely treatment and affect their health adversely.

Let’s make a new beginning towards understanding the need for discussing sexual health without hesitation or embarrassment.

If you have been diagnosed with an STI, read this carefully to learn the right ways to tell your partner you have an infection.

How Do I Tell Someone I Have An STI? - STI

1. Know the facts

Talk to your doctor and do your own research instead of believing what you have heard by word of mouth about the STI you have been diagnosed with. This will help you feel confident about the symptoms and treatment and allow you to take proper precautions to prevent the spread. Having a clear understanding about your diagnosed STI will also mean that you are more equipped to answer any questions that your future and previous sexual partners may have about the infection and how it potentially may affect them.

How Do I Tell Someone I Have An STI? - STI

2. Talk before sexual contact

The right time to talk about STIs is before having sex.

Whether your relationship is casual or serious, discussing your sexual history with the partner and asking about theirs is extremely important.

Depending on your STI diagnosis, you may need to tell your partner earlier before getting intimate to avoid unnecessary and unwanted transmission.

As an example; if you have oral herpes, tell your partner before you kiss or perform any oral sex. Similarly, if you have a genital STI, tell your partner before performing any sexual activity involving the genitals.

How Do I Tell Someone I Have An STI? - STI

3. Decide where to communicate

You can meet your partner and talk face to face or discuss this over the phone. If you decide to meet in person, choose a place where you feel comfortable and safe.

If you do not find it comfortable to meet your partner in person, you may message or have a video chat. The right mode of communication primarily depends on your relationship.

How Do I Tell Someone I Have An STI? - STI

4. Prepare to talk

When you disclose to your partner that you have been diagnosed with an STI, do it at a time you feel confident, especially when you are not sure how he or she will take it.

It would also help to make plans about how you want to talk.

Think about how your partner would react to the information and try to make the conversation as gentle as possible. Be calm and relaxed while discussing this.

Go step by step by first creating a set up where you tell your partner you want to tell something important but not too serious. This will enable him or her to be prepared to hear patiently and accept the information in a positive way.

How Do I Tell Someone I Have An STI? - STI

5. Opening the discussion

The best way to start the conversation is to tell your partner you care about them and would like to do everything to protect them.

You can, then, open by asking about their sexual health history. You can also ask if they had had an STI in the past or have one currently.

You may tell them that you have an STI and ask whether they have any questions that you may be able to answer. This is where your understanding of your diagnosis is helpful. It might help you to go over what it would mean to your relationship and health in terms of precautions and medications.

It is normal to feel embarrassed at first. However, you will feel much better and relaxed once you get over with it. Your partner would also feel grateful that you brought this up without making attempts to hide facts. Being honest and upfront is the best method and being secretive and lying about your diagnosis could hinder your relationship.

How Do I Tell Someone I Have An STI? - STI

6. Anticipate possible reactions

Well, it can be difficult to know beforehand how your partner will react to the information.

Your partner may just thank you for letting him or her know and reassure you that their relationship will remain the same. Your partner may also get impressed by the fact that you discussed this openly. The response may bring both of you closer than ever.

However, it is possible that the partner may not take it in a good spirit. He or she might express disbelief or be afraid. It is possible that they may become judgmental and express rejection.

In case you get any unpleasant reaction, it is normal to feel disbelief and guilt. You can choose to reply to your partner with facts and let them know they are misinformed or being judgmental. However, be very thoughtful in your response. You want them to understand that you feel that they are being judgemental in this very moment, but they are not a judgemental person overall.

If you feel the need to not respond at that moment, you can leave and contact them later. This may give your partner enough time to think about the situation and this might change their attitude towards the circumstances.

Even if you are hurt with the reaction and would prefer to end the relationship, that again is your decision. These types of unpleasant responses let you know more about your partner and understand their beliefs and values as a person. 

By being honest about having an STI, you will be able to add a feather of trust and more love in your relationship or get to know the other side of your partner that you were unaware of.

How Do I Tell Someone I Have An STI? - STI

The bottom line

Whatever way you choose to tell your partner that you have STI, be proud when you do it!

It might be scary to open up! You may also feel vulnerable to share something so private about yourself or your sexual history.

However, the difficult conversation may ease your relationship by allowing both of you to build trust and show your partner that after its all said and done, you just want to protect them!

Is Stigma Health legal?

Absolutely. The process may seem new and different to how you usually go about medical tests, but we are in full compliance with Australian law and Medical Board of Australia Guidelines for Technology-based Patient Consultations.

Why Should I get tested with Stigma Health instead of going to my GP?

Convenience, pure and simple. If you want to skip the trip to the GP, then the Pathology Centre then the one back to your GP for the results then we’re your solution!
If you get tested with us we deliver your Pathology Referral online and you only have to make the one trip to the Pathology Centre and that’s it, your results are delivered to you safely, securely and privately directly to your mobile phone.
Not to mention we’re saving you the awkward conversation!

Can I get an STI Test through Stigma Health?

You can currently undergo a convenient and private STI test through us if you are in Australia and are over 16 years of age. Fit the criteria? Let’s get started.
If you are under 16 then we, unfortunately, cannot provide you with a Pathology Referral to get an STI test. We urge you to visit a doctor to arrange a test ASAP. Alternately you can visit an STI clinic or hospital clinic to get an STI test. If you want to talk to someone prior to doing so you will find the details for several Sexual Health info lines operating across Australia in our Resources section.

Who is Stigma Health?

We are an online healthcare service that aims to make your life more convenient by eliminating the barriers like embarrassment and inconvenience, which often prevent people from undergoing simple medical tests. We started with STIs because they are a serious problem in Australia and are for the most part easily tested for and treated, but we will be expanding our service offering soon so stay tuned!