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Contact tracing

If you have been diagnosed with a sexually transmissible infection (STI) your current and past partners should be told that they might be at risk, so that they can be offered testing and treatment. The aim is to prevent you getting the STI again and to stop the spread of infection. The purpose of contact tracing is to find people who may have the infection and to help them, not to blame anyone.

Telling your partners

Let your partners know which infection you have been treated for and encourage them to have a check-up. They can go to their health care provider or sexual health clinic.

Work out who you have to tell

Your doctor or sexual health nurse can discuss with you the best way to inform contacts. If you have any difficulties in contacting sexual partners, your health care provider or a sexual health clinic may be able to assist.

How far back should you go?

  • Chlamydia—up to 6 months
  • Gonorrhoea—up to 2 months
  • Syphilis—up to 12 months
  • HIV—3 months before your last negative test

Depending on your circumstances, these timeframes may be longer. If so, your health care provider will advise you.

Decide how to tell your partners

You can contact them in person, by phone or SMS, email, or by using a contact tracing website. Your health care provider can discreetly contact them without identifying you in any way.

  • Let Them Know
    people diagnosed with an STI can tell their sexual partners that they might also be at risk via a conversation, SMS, email or letter either personally or anonymously.
  • The Drama Down Under
    has information for men who have sex with men about the most common STIs. Men diagnosed with an STI can advise their sexual partners that they may be at risk of an STI by sending an e-card or SMS either personally or anonymously. Men can also register to receive a regular reminder to have a sexual health check-up.
  • Better to Know
    provides information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about common STIs and provides a service to advise their sexual partners that they might also be at risk by sending an e-card or SMS either personally or anonymously.

Do not feel like you have to provide a lot of information. Remember, most people with STIs do not have symptoms.
What you could say:

  • “Is it convenient to talk?”
  • “This is embarrassing but there is something we need to talk about.”
  • “We have a bit of a problem; I had some tests last week.”
  • “Hi, we met at a party last week, and there is something I need to tell you. Have I called at a good time?”
  • “Since I saw you last, I have had some news.”

Treat your infection

Treatment is available for most STIs from GP clinics or Aboriginal Medical Services. Treatment for STIs is also available at your nearest sexual health clinic. Remember to have another STI test in 3 months.

Prevent re-infection

Make sure you have safe sex, use condoms and lube, and have a yearly sexual health check-up.

Learn more about safe sex.

Help and assistance

13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84)

Get health advice from a registered nurse over the phone—24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Find out more.

Help and assistance

13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84)

Get health advice from a registered nurse over the phone—24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Find out more.

Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated
3 October 2017
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