One of the most important first steps to take if you have an STI is to tell any sexual partners, past or present. It is essential they know, as their health or future fertility could also be at risk. If the STI is curable, both partners must be treated in order to prevent reinfection.
A New Partner
It can be awkward telling a new partner you have an STI. However, if the roles were reversed, you would expect to be informed. It is best to honest and direct. Let the conversation proceed naturally, and be prepared to listen to your partner if they have questions or concerns. They may need some time to think about things. It is important not to rush this process. Telling a new partner about an STI is a brave thing to do but is the right thing, and they will respect you for being honest and caring enough to broach such a difficult topic.
In any case, for those just starting a new relationship it is a good idea for both partners to go for a full sexual health check.
A Current Partner
If you are in a relationship and find out you have an STI, it can be an emotionally difficult and confusing time. Bear in mind that it doesn’t automatically mean one of you has been unfaithful, as some STIs can take several weeks, months or even years before they show up.
It is vital you both get any necessary medical care straight away. Take some time to talk to each other, and above all be honest. Follow the advice of your health clinic or doctor and take any medication exactly as described.
If, once diagnosed, you feel you may have been infected for some time, it is vital to make previous sexual partners aware of the situation. Again, this is not an easy task but it is an important one.
Sometimes people can have an STI and feel perfectly fine, with no signs or symptoms. This can cause problems in the long term, as STIs rarely go away on their own. It is recommended therefore that individuals who are, or have previously been, sexually active should be tested for STIs regularly.