I have an STBBI

It’s been confirmed: I have an STBBI

Learning that you have an STBBI is never pleasant. You may feel guilty, may worry and be afraid of being rejected, you may be angry or sad.

It’s no use getting mad at yourself or accusing your partners. Very often, infected persons don’t know that they are, and they can unintentionally transmit an STBBI to their partner. The best thing is to take care of your health, to protect yourself so that you can avoid it happening again, and to warn your partners in order to break the STBBI transmission chain rather than looking for someone to put the blame on.

According to the diagnosis, the doctor will prescribe the treatment that suits you best. For it to be effective, the treatment must be followed to the letter, from start to finish.

To avoid infecting your partner or partners, do not have sexual intercourse for the duration of the treatment. If this seems impossible to you, using a condom is unavoidable.

Why should I let my partners know about it

It is essential to notify your partners as quickly as possible in order to:

  • reduce the risk that they will transmit this infection another time;
  • allow them to get screening tests done, to treat the infection and to avoid complications;
  • avoid transmitting the infection to other people.

Which partners should I let know about it

For chlamydia or gonorrhoea, tell:

  • your partners over the last two months (60 days);
  • if you haven’t had a partner in this period, let your most recent partner know.

For other STBBIs, the doctor or the nurse will help you identify which partners to notify.

I don’t know how to tell my partners

Letting your partners know can be intimidating or distressing, but it’s also a responsible and respectful act. If the roles were reversed, wouldn’t you want to be told. Even if it’s bad news, most partners react well and appreciate the fact that their partner is letting them know.

In person or on the phone

Most partners prefer to be told in person. If you aren’t comfortable face to face, you can use the phone. In person or on the phone, here are some tips to talk about it with your partner:

  • Think about what you’re going to say before you meet your partner or you talk about it with him or her. You can practise with a friend or even in front of a mirror.
  • Choose a neutral spot where you’ll be able to talk without being bothered. If you do it over the telephone, make sure that it’s the right time to talk about it.
  • Don’t beat around the bush. Say things simply. For example: “I have chlamydia. It’s a sexually transmissible infection. It’s treated with antibiotics. Maybe you’re infected too. You should see a doctor or a nurse to have a screening test done and to get treatment.”
  • You don’t need to provide all the information... you can give him this address: itss.gouv.qc.ca. You can also give him or her the documentation available from health professionals.
  • Don’t blame your partner. He or she might get angry or be on the defensive, which will make the conversation more difficult. Example of a statement to avoid: “You’ve given me chlamydia.”

Sending a letter or an email

If you find that it’s too difficult to announce it in person or on the telephone, you can send an email or even a letter to your partner. Before you use one of these methods, ask yourself if it’s really the best way to let him or her know, or if someone else might read your email or your letter. If so, you’d be better off using another method.

Sample text to send

What I have to tell you is no pleasure for me, but I have to let your know that we’ve probably transmitted an STBBI to each other (sexually transmissible and blood-borne infection). This STBBI is called: _______________________________________________.

You may not show any symptoms. Nonetheless, the consequences can be serious for your health, and what’s more, you could infect other people. So, you should see a doctor.

You should avoid sexual intercourse, or use a condom as long as you haven’t seen a doctor and received effective treatment. This way, you’ll avoid transmitting the infection to someone else.

If you want more information or if you want to get the contact information of a doctor who treats STBBIs, you can telephone Info-Santé 8-1-1.

Getting help

If you’re having trouble letting your partners know, health professionals can help you and even inform some partners in your place without giving your name. To find out how to get help, see your doctor, a nurse or get in touch with Info-Santé 8-1-1.

I’m afraid of how my parents will react

If you are 14 or older, your parents’ authorization is not required for you to receive health care. So, you can have screening tests done, get your results and, if necessary, take medication without them knowing. You can specify to the health professional that you want the results to be sent to you confidentially. Obviously, you may feel a little overwhelmed in the face of this situation. If you have good relations with your parents, their support could be precious to you. The decision to talk to them about it is up to you.

Getting help

To get a screening test

  • Call Info-Santé 8-1-1
  • Talk it over with the nurse in your school or CLSC
  • Talk it over with your doctor


For any
other question

Consult Tel-jeunes

Tel-Jeunes Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux