What to do if you have been diagnosed with an STI.

If you have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI), you are not alone. STIs are very common and many are completely curable. Even STIs that are not curable can be treated and the symptoms managed with medicines.

Which STIs are curable?

Common STIs that can be cured with antibiotics and other medicines include:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Crabs (pubic lice) and scabies
  • Syphilis
  • Trichomoniasis (Trich)

Common STIs that cannot be cured, but can be treated, include:

  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Herpes Simplex Virus
  • HIV and AIDS
  • HPV and genital warts

Notifying partners

If you find out that you have a reportable STI like Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis or HIV, it is important to let partners know so that they can get tested and treated. By telling partner(s) about the infection you can:

  • avoid them passing the infection back to you
  • avoid them from passing the infection on to others
  • give them the chance to take care of their sexual health by getting tested and treated
  • help prevent long-term health problems

Ways to let partner(s) know to get tested for STIs:

  • Tell them in person. It helps to prepare for the conversation in advance.
  • Have a health care professional tell them for you. They will contact your partner and your name will not be mentioned.
  • Use an anonymous online service such as TellYourPartner or Tell Your Partners - Health Initiative For Men (HIM) (checkhimout.ca)
  • Have a health care provider present when you tell your partner. This way the provider can answer any questions that come up.

Resource: Treating & Living with STIs | SmartSex Resource. See “Notifying Partners”

Life after treatment

Not all STIs can be cured but there are supports and resources available to offer as much information as possible.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Having an STI is very common
  • Sexual activity is still possible (practicing safer sex can reduce the chance of passing an STI on).
  • All STIs can be treated and the symptoms managed. A health care provider can talk you through your options.