Why talk about sexual partners?

Why talk about sexual partners?

A routine visit to the clinic often means we ask a lot of personal questions, including about sexual partners.

This can come as a surprise to some people, especially if it is a first visit. Rest assured, the questions asked are on a need to know basis, and your information is treated with respect adhering to our confidentiality policy.

How does this work in the clinic?

How does this work in the clinic?

Our Health Advisers will give you treatment for the infection and talk with you about sexual partners and the options for notifying them, as part of our role is to reduce the number of undiagnosed STIs in the community.

What is Partner Notification?

What is Partner Notification?

The process of informing a sexual partner is known as Partner Notification. You may choose to tell your partners yourself, or you may ask us to help you. We can notify your sexual partners on your behalf, about the risk of infection. This is called ‘Provider Referral’ and is done confidentially, so we will not mention your name, location, or when the sex took place. Provider Referrals are useful if there was a difficult break up for example.

Notifying partners about an infection can feel daunting, but it also shows care and respect for the other person.  In the majority of cases, sexual partners are grateful to have been informed, it will prompt them to have a check-up, and get treatment if it is indicated.

So we’ll be able to work out where my infection came from?

So we’ll be able to work out where my infection came from?

If you are diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection, (STI), it may not be possible to figure out who may have passed it to you, or when. This is because often STI’s have no symptoms, and the person may not have realised they had an infection. Therefore, it is helpful if recent sexual contacts can be informed.  Infections can be harmful if not treated, so it is really important for current partners to be treated, in order to avoid the infection being passed back to you.

How can we help you?

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Accessing our service

In response to the emergence of COVID-19 we have implemented a telephone triage system for all of our clinics. Our central telephone number is 0300 303 3989.

We are currently experiencing high demand for our Sexual Health Services across Devon and Torbay with unprecedented demand in Exeter. Please note always review urgent cases the same day. If your need is urgent and you are struggling to reach us keep trying as our phone system will explain how to access same-day care with us.

We have updated information on the provision of routine contraception here.

Self-requested STI testing by post is available for those aged under 25- more info

We are now running an under 18’s sit and wait clinic at Exeter, Torquay, and Barnstaple for more information click here

If you are struggling to access sexual health services, alternatives may be available:

  • Emergency Contraception - from a local pharmacy - more info
  • Contraceptive pills and LARC procedures - obtained from your GP
  • HIV PEPSE - available via A+E departments - more info
  • Condoms by post (for gay and bisexual men only) - more info