Although there are lots of effective treatments for STIs, talking about them with sexual partners isn’t always easy.
If you’re getting treated for an STI, there will be a period of time where you can transmit it. You’ll have to hold off on having sex until you know the treatment has worked. It’s important to talk to guys you’ve hooked up with recently to let them know that they may have come into contact with an STI and they should go and get tested.
Sometimes this is as easy as saying, “Hey, just wanted to let you know you should get tested for STIs. I got something and you may have it too.” Sometimes it can be more difficult. If you’re not comfortable having the direct discussion, Public Health Ontario can take the contact information of your recent hookups and inform them anonymously on your behalf. You can also use resources like TellYourPartner.org to send texts on your behalf.
Check out our page about disclosing if this is hard for you, or if you think it is something you may have to deal with in the long-term.
If somebody you have had sex with tells you they have an STI, either in person or anonymously, you might be upset or annoyed, but remember that this person is doing you a favor. Not only are they helping you to test and treat for it earlier, they’re also stopping the chain of transmission. That means anyone else you’re sleeping with won’t get the STI or pass it on.
STIs are an ongoing reality in many gay men’s sex lives. The best way to protect yourself and your sex partners is to talk about it, and to make STI testing and knowing your status a part of your routine.