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?
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?
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?
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.