How to tell your partner or ex you have an STI

STI labels

"How's your chlamydia?"

Not an easy conversation to have with a doctor, let alone your friends or your partner.

And according to new research from Public Health England, sexual health is still very hard to talk about.

Of the 2,000 16-24 year olds they spoke to, 56% of men and 43% of women said they found it difficult to talk openly about sexually transmitted infections with friends.

As awkward as it may be, once you know you have an STI, you should let your sexual partners know about it.

Easier said than done, so we've been speaking to Dr Sara Kayat. She's given us her top five tips for telling your partner or ex you have an STI.

Dr Sara Kayat
Image caption Dr Sara Kayat is a GP based in London but you might recognise her from Celebrity Island.

Decide that you have to tell them

Dr Sara's first tip is a simple one. She says you must decide you have a responsibility to let your partner or ex know there's a problem.

"I know it can be difficult but most STIs are easily treatable if caught early and telling them will help them get tested sooner, treated sooner and decrease the chances of that STI being passed to others," she said.

Do it anonymously

"For people that are particularly confident or have a good relationship with their partner or ex, they may feel able to speak to their partners themselves," she said.

But that won't always feel like an option - so you could do it anonymously.

Sara says this can be done by a sexual health clinic. If you hand them the contact details of your partner or ex partners, they can call them for you.

Try anonymous texting

If you want to be the one to deliver the message, but don't necessarily want your ex to know it came from you, anonymous texting could also be an option.

You can go online or download apps that will allow you to send your exes a text without letting them know it's from you - telling them to get tested.

texting

Ask your doctor

Some GPs are happy to call your partner for you. So if you find out you have an STI, Dr Sara says it's always worth asking your doctor if they would break the news.

Use protection

While a lot of young people admit they don't use condoms if their partner is on contraception - you have to remember things like the pill don't protect from infection.

Condom

So the advice, in short, use a condom so you don't have to worry about STIs at all.

For more info and advice on STIs, check out the BBC Advice pages.

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