Don't Be Afraid to Tell Your Partner ...
Updated: Jan 23
*promotional material (palm card) image from tellyourpartner.org*
I was browsing poz.com and came across a cool sexual health resource!
For the past three years I've been working in the world of HIV/AIDS and sexual health. Currently I am a linkage coordinator (I connect known and new HIV positive persons to medical care as well as other social/socioeconomic services), and when I started in the field I was an HIV and STI tester (STI = sexually transmitted infections, commonly used interchangeably with 'STD' or sexually transmitted diseases).
A large component of my work requires me to talk with clients about sex: how often they have sex, who they're having sex with, what body parts they use while engaging in intercourse, etc. The concerns of STIs, how soon tests can detect the bacteria or viruses, treatment, and when/how to tell their partner(s) are also commonly a part of the informal Sex Ed convo.
If you weren't aware.... STIs are currently on the rise again in the United States...
Click the hyperlinked text to read recent reports of increased rates of STIs nationwide
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that STI rates in Philadelphia are even higher than some of the nation's averages. Yikes.
**A few days into drafting this post I came across an article with more recent data regarding HIV rates in Philadelphia; they are on the decline! Read the article here:
Disclosure can be a difficult topic, especially for those living with HIV. While I myself don't have all the answers there are resources (as well as counseling/therapy options) that can help clients navigate letting a partner (or partners) know they have come back reactive for a sexually transmitted infection or disease, and that they should go get tested and treated as well (if applicable).
TellYourPartner.org is an anonymous and FREE way to contact sexual partner(s) and encourage them to get tested/treated after you've received a positive result for an STI screening.
The service allows you to send either an email or a text; you can create your own personal message or use a generic pre-populated message created by the site. You are able to text/email up to six people per message.
Of course there are critics who claim there could be some misuse/abuse of the service, but overall the message is simple; get tested and treated.. and in the event you don't feel comfortable talking to your partner(s) about it, use #TellYourPartner to notify them to do the same!