Who Should Do the Telling?

“You know, it’s a really sensitive subject. And it’s really hard news for people to get.” So says Anna Halloran, who works for Spokane Regional Health District in eastern Washington. For patients who have tested positive for gonorrhea, the health department now offers a service to provide anonymous notification to their former sexual partners.

“People don’t necessarily do that [tell former partners about the diagnosis],” says Jocelyn Warren, a public health researcher at Oregon State University. Studies show that couples—especially young couples—don’t communicate about their sexual histories. (Surprise, surprise!) And telling an ex about an STI infection can be especially “difficult,” Warren says.

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