Discussing STIs with a past or present partner is never going to be an enjoyable conversation, but it is essential. Sharing your STI status is an important part of stopping the chain of infection and protecting both your and your partner’s health. During these difficult conversations, it is normal for emotions to run high, so here are some tips on how to try to ease the process.

Stigma around STIs can cause feelings of shame, embarrassment, and a sense of being alone, but it is crucial to remember that STIs are very common and can be treated successfully. The most important thing is protecting your health and the health of those around you. You should never feel ashamed about that.

Understanding your sexual health status

First things first. If you are unsure of your current sexual health status, you should get tested for STIs as soon as possible and make sure that your partner is also tested. It is recommended to get tested for STIs before you begin any new sexual relationship. STIs often present no symptoms, so even if you are feeling normal, it is important to get tested. Some STIs, including Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea and Syphilis, can be passed through sexual contact alone Having a comprehensive sexual health screen will provide you with the peace of mind you need.

How to deal with a positive test result

Testing positive for an STI can be worrying but remember that it is the first step towards receiving treatment and preventing long-term damage to your health.

The next step you must take is deciding how to inform past and present partners of your test result. We know that breaking the news can be difficult. If you do not feel comfortable contacting your partners personally, you can use Better2Know’s anonymous partner notification system to let any partners who may have been at risk know that they need to get tested.

Telling a partner that you have an STI can be an unpleasant and uncomfortable conversation. However, it must be done as they have the right to know about any risks to their own health. In some countries, intentionally withholding STI diagnoses from sexual partners is a criminal offence.

Man sitting with anxious posture.

How to start a conversation about STIs

Think about how you’d like to have the discussion with your partner. Is it better over text, phone call or face to face? Make sure you feel safe and comfortable with your choice.

Do your research. Your partner will no doubt have a lot of questions so you should be prepared for that. Imagine how you would feel if the roles were reversed and anticipate how the other person may feel upon hearing the news. If you don’t have all the answers, don’t worry. You just need to convey to your partner that you both need to be tested and treated for any infections. You may even decide to go to a sexual health clinic together!

Most importantly, be honest and upfront. Telling your partner is the right thing to do.

Speak to Better2Know in confidence

Are you entering a new relationship? Have you recently found out your partner has an STI? Better2Know can provide you with a full STI check-up to give you confidence and peace of mind. Better2Know’s website provides all the information you need to understand the symptoms, testing and treatment for a wide variety of STIs. Find out more here.

Talk to our highly trained sexual health advisors now or book a confidential appointment at a clinic near you.


[1] RCHSD.ORG: Telling Your Partner You Have an STI

[2] HELLOCLUE.COM: How to tell your partner you have a sexually transmitted infection

[3] HEALTHLINE.COM: STIs Are NBD-Really. Here’s How to Talk About It

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