A service provided by the BC Centre for Disease Control

Sex talk

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I have an STI

What you can say

  • “I need to let you know I have the virus that causes _______. I use condoms, but let's talk about it”.
  • “Before we have sex, I need to tell you something.  I found out I have _______.”
  • “This is hard for me to talk about, but you should know that I have _______. We can talk about what this means for us.”
  • "I have a very common STI _______.  I’ve learned a lot about it if you have questions.”

When to talk about it

It may feel like there is no “good time” to tell someone about an STI. It’s a good idea to think about the pros and cons of telling someone at the beginning of a relationship. Waiting until later can make it harder to bring it up, especially if you are having unprotected sex.

Know the facts

Learn about the STI you have. Knowing the facts can help you answer questions your partners may have. Find out about symptoms and how the STI is passed between people. Talk about safer sex and how it lowers the chances of passing on STIs. It can help to have some written information for your partners. Learn more about living with an STI.

What might happen

Sometimes people are surprised to find that nothing terrible happens when they tell their partners. But in our society, shame and stigma are often tied to STIs. Some partners may be angry, shocked or judging when you tell them you have an STI. If that happens, give your partner some time to think and try to remain calm. Talk to a friend or professional for support. Sometimes a partner wants to end a relationship when they find out about an STI. If that happens, it doesn’t mean you will never have another relationship or sex again. People living with STIs still have relationships and active sex lives.

Be brave. No matter how they react (and it may be great!), remember that there is a lot more to you than your STI. Focus on the other great things about yourself and over time, talking about your STI usually gets easier.

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