Even in the best of times, it can be an awkward conversation to have and tricky to negotiate the right language to use, or even how much detail you’re expected to disclose. ‘Partner notification’ or telling your partners you’ve had an sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnosis is one of the most responsible things you can do, along with accessing the right treatment for you.
If it’s an STI that can easily be passed on like gonorrhoea, chlamydia, syphilis, or untreated Hep C or HIV, letting your partners know they need to get tested allows them to take care of their own health. It also helps stop you or anyone else picking up the STI, and it can even help build the trust you have for each other in your relationship agreements.
There is growing evidence to show that people living with HIV, testing regularly is leading to a decrease of STIs in our communities.
Positive Life NSW is building new ways to support people with all the information and guidance they may need to notify their partners and even ‘contact trace’ previous hook-ups and encounters. It’s called Peer-Led Notification.
Rather than using an anonymous website or a doctor or nurse calling on a person’s behalf using a very clinical approach, Positive Life is connecting people to peers who have been there before, done it themselves, and are trained and able to answer any questions or concerns you may have; however sticky or sweet it may get.
The goal is to help you handle anything that may come up before, during or after letting your partners know, safely and confidentially.
As a peer-led organisation, Positive Life has an interest in informing and empowering you to be in the driver’s seat, respecting your decisions and supporting you to say the things you want to say in the ways you need to say them. Even if that means just giving you leads to other services like counselling, workshops or other peer-based supports.
By empowering you to be in control of your health, to tell who you want to tell, in the way you want to tell them, it means you’ll feel better about yourself, and your partners and fuck-buddies are more likely to respect your disclosure and support you in the future.
Give Positive Life a call on (02) 9206-2177 during office hours if you have any questions or concerns about living with HIV. We’ve all been there, and it’s not something you have to go through alone.