Tips & Scripts for Texting Your Partners
so they can know they need to get tested for an STD
- Think about how you would like to be told, if you were the one being texted.
- Think through the whole texting conversation ahead of time, and write down what you're going to text if that helps.
- If you're willing, it's probably better to call, and then only text if your partner isn't picking up or responding to your calls.
- Know the basic facts about your STD so you can answer their questions.
- Always consider your own safety before notifying your partners. If you're afraid that your partner might hurt you, notifying them anonymously or not at all might be safer than telling them in person. To talk to someone who understands what to do to be safe: 1-800-799-SAFE.
When to text
- Text within the first few days after you’re diagnosed. For your current partners, tell them before you have sex with them again, and make sure you either use condoms or don't have sex until you are both cured (if you have an STD that can be cured). It’s okay to take a day to process and calm down before notifying your past partners, but the more you put it off the less likely you are to do it, and the more likely your partners are to spread the STD to someone else.
- Don’t text when you’re angry or upset.
- Text during a time when your partner is likely to be alone, and make sure that they have their phone in their hand (not out on a table where others can see it) when you tell them the news.
- Text during a time and from a place where you won’t be interrupted.
- Be prepared for them to pick up the phone and call you mid-conversation.
- Remember, texts can be saved or shared with others in a way that can't be done with a phone call or if you tell them in person.
What to text
- First, get a sense of what they’re doing at the moment and whether or not their phone is private. Something like:
- “Hey, wanted to tell you something, is now OK?”
- If this isn’t a good time for them, or they don't respond, wait and try again later.
- If this is a good time, just dive right in. It might be good to emphasize that you just learned about your diagnosis (if that's true), rather than have your partner think you knew you had an STD when you slept together or you waited a long time before telling them. Here are a couple ways to put say it:
- “I went to the doctor the other day, and learned I had [STD].”
- “I just got tested and found out that I have [STD].”
- If you don’t think your partner will recognize the name of you’re STD, you might want to add:
- “It’s an STD.”
- Apologize. Even if you don’t feel like it’s your fault. Maybe if you have only had sex with one person ever you don’t need to, but otherwise an apology makes everyone feel better. Something like:
- “I don’t know if I gave it to you or you gave it to me, and if it was me I’m sorry.”
- If you don’t think your partner will know how your STD is spread, and you feel comfortable you might want to add:
- “But since we have [type of sex you had], I thought you should know, because it can be spread that way.”
- Make sure they know that they need to get tested and treated:
- “I just wanted to let you know so you could get checked out.”
- If your STD is curable (like chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, or syphilis), make sure to let them know that too. Sometimes people don’t get tested because they don’t realize that getting treated will help their health.
- “So…it really sucks, but the good news is it goes away once you get treated, and you can’t infect anyone after that.”
- You don't need to text this all at once. Give them a chance respond and ask questions- don't just ignore their texts while you're trying to get everything in. If you feel comfortable, ask them if they have any questions.
- If they ask a question you don’t answer to, say you don’t know. Don’t make something up to make them or you feel better.
Have a tip or resource you think should be added to this? Think any of this advice is wrong? Contact us.