STI happens. It doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong, and it doesn’t mean your partners have done something wrong. It does mean however that you have the daunting task of telling your previous partners and exes, because they need to be informed. Here’s how to tell your ex you have an STI.

Getting test results back showing that you have an STI can be one of the worst experiences. There’s something that makes us feel that they are so bad. It’s not like catching a cold, because you got this through sex, and that somehow makes it dirty. Many people feel ashamed. But you shouldn’t.

Yes, getting an STI is horrible. It’s ok to feel bad. But it’s not ok to feel ashamed, or angry at your partners, because those feelings won’t help. There are definitely bad circumstances that can cause STIs, such as dishonesty between partners. However right now, there are some things that you’ll need to do. Like being honest to others.

Just remember that getting an STI doesn’t mean the end of the world. It’s very common, and most are easily treatable. You’re still a good person. This doesn’t make you less in any way.

Do your research

The best thing you can do to start with is to understand what sort of STI you have. It’s good to find out as much as you can. This can be from asking your doctor, looking online etc. One of the reasons people are scared of STIs is because they don’t know enough about them.

Finding out more about your STI means you can also tell your partner and reassure them when they start to worry as well. You can tell them what kind it is, how it affects the body, the sort of symptoms it may or may not show, as well as treatments available for it. It’ll also help them inform their doctor, and get treated themselves easier.

Decide how to tell them

There’s lots of ways you can tell someone you have an STI. Some people like to do it in person. Other times, that’s not really possible. You can give them a call, send them a text or even email them. The important thing here is that you are informing them. Not telling an ex is the worst thing you can do.

Telling them anonymously

There’s also lots of options now to tell your ex anonymously. Many healthcare clinics such as Virgin Care are now offering services where you can leave a contact number and they will send a message informing the person that they might be at risk of an STI.

This service is actually available in a lot of places. A poll I took also showed that 68% of people would be more likely to tell an ex that they have an STI if they were able to do it anonymously. It’s really important that you should know you have options that aren’t as embarrassing.

Don’t take things personally

Now obviously people aren’t going to be happy being told there’s a chance they might have an STI. Whilst the ideal situation is for them to say “thank you for telling me, I really appreciate it.” that might not happen.

They might get angry at you. They might blame you. You could feel really bad about it. But you have to not let it get to you. Getting an STI sucks, but it’s not the end of the world. By being responsible and telling your partners, you’ve done the right thing, and you can be proud of that. Because many people don’t tell their partners, and that’s why STIs spread so much.