Telling Your Partner

Important information;

  • Partner notification (also known as contact tracing) helps stop the spread of STIs.
  • Many people don’t know they have an STI: notifying them can help them get treated.
  • This can also stop you getting re-infected.
  • Make sure the information that you pass on is correct. Health professionals can help you with this if you are unsure.

What is partner notification?

  • Partner notification is when you tell someone they have been in contact with an STI and advise them to get tested and treated for that STI.

Why should we notify partners?

  • It helps to stop the spread of STIs.
  • To avoid getting an STI back again from an untreated sexual partner.
  • The more times you get an STI, the higher the risk of getting serious problems in the future.
  • Unless they get tested, people often don’t know they have an STI and can spread it to others without knowing.

Who do I need to contact?

Usually anyone you have had sexual contact with (including oral, vaginal or anal sex)
in the last few months (as advised by your doctor or nurse).

When should I do this?

  • As soon as possible after finding out that you have an STI.
  • Before you have sex with an untreated partner(s).

How am I going to do this?

There are many ways of telling partners/sex contacts:

  • You can tell them yourself. If you are unsure how we can advise you how to do this.
  • We can tell them for you. It is anonymous (we never tell who asked us to contact them) and if they live elsewhere we can ask their local clinic to do it, which distances it more from you. If you choose this way you are still in control. We cannot do it without your permission and what we say to them is only what you tell us we can.

Things to think about when deciding how best to tell your partner(s);

  • How safe it is for you to tell you partner(s). If you have concerns, please discuss this with your doctor or nurse.
  • What contact details you have for your sexual partner(s)/sex contact(s).
  • How you would like to be told yourself.
  • Many people prefer to inform people face-to-face and find that they have a positive response from their partner(s)/sex contact(s).

Where can I go for help?


  • STIs are usually easy to test for and treat.
  • Most STIs are passed on by people who don’t know they have one, as they often don’t have any signs or symptoms.
  • Just because you were tested first doesn’t mean that you had the infection first.
  • Make sure you have the correct information to answer any questions and correct any myths about the STI.
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