This website and service has been developed to help gay men who have been diagnosed with an STI to inform their sexual partners (both the person who gave you the STI and any subsequent partners that you may have had), who might also have an infection.
By informing your partners, you can help reduce the number of undiagnosed STIs in the community. And fewer undiagnosed STIs in the community means there is less chance of you picking up an STI from your sexual partners in the future. Not everyone with an STI will have symptoms. Often, a person can be infected with an STI and not know it. Until someone tells them, they might think they are free from infections and pass them on to others without realising it. Most STIs are easier to treat, and will cause less damage the sooner they are treated. If you think a partner may have an STI, the sooner they know, and can get the STI treated, the better.
The advantage of using this service rather than phone your partners is that they can receive information about the STI, its treatment and where they can access their nearest clinic. It will also enable your partners to be fast tracked for an appointment and it will let the clinic they attend know what STIs to test for. This may mean that your partners can access treatment earlier.
However you can use this service and phone your partners if you want. This service is not meant to replace any personal communication between you and your partners, but rather help you give them more information and enable them to access treatment quicker if they need it.
Whether or not you choose to disclose who you are is up to you. This service can send both named or anonymous messages.
Evidence suggests that people are more likely to respond to a message (and get tested in a clinic) if they know who sent the message, so your notification will be more effective if you say who it’s from.
If you do not feel comfortable identifying yourself in a message you send, for whatever reason, then it is fine to send it without saying who it is from.
Some things we can’t answer. However you may want to think about the following:
Before you were diagnosed with HIV, you may have had sex that put some of your partners at risk. Some of these people may now have HIV. It is important that these people get tested for HIV for two reasons. First, they may not know that they have HIV and could be passing on their infection to other men. Second if they do not know that they have HIV, they will not be accessing any treatment in order to keep themselves healthy.
You do not need to inform partners that you have been diagnosed with HIV if you have not had sex which has put them at risk of HIV infection.
This partner notification system allows you to inform some of your partners that you have been diagnosed with HIV without telling everyone. You can also choose whether or not to do this anonymously.
If you have had sex within the last 72 hours that may have put someone at risk of HIV infection, informing them that you have HIV will enable them to access PEP. To find out more information about PEP, please visit www.gmfa.org.uk/pep
As your partner may not know about PEP and that PEP needs to be taken within 72 hours of the sex which put them at risk, it is advisable that you inform them directly rather than through this service.
We also recommend that you visit www.gmfa.org.uk/positive for more information on what to do when you have been recently diagnosed with HIV.
First we should say that a website like this can not give legal advice. Therefore the following is based on GMFA’s best knowledge and should not be taken as legal advice.
If you have only recently been diagnosed with HIV, you will not have known that you had HIV when you had sex with your partners. The Crown Prosecution Service’s guidelines state that a person must have known that they had HIV for a prosecution to take place. Also, HIV must have been transmitted. You can only know that you had unsafe sex with someone. You cannot know whether HIV transmission occurred. Finally, if you had unsafe sex with someone, it is possible that they infected you rather than the other way round. It is impossible for someone to prove in court, in which direction HIV transmission occurred.
For more information on this issue visit: www.gmfa.org.uk/law.
We have taken great care in developing the messages sent on this system to ensure that they do not imply that you have infected your partners nor that they have infected you.
The contents of messages sent depend on the type of contact details for your partners that you provide to us. The message does not state that your partners have an STI only that it is advised that they get a check up. If you choose to, the message will also contain your name and the STI’s that you have been diagnosed with. You have complete control over this. You will get to see a preview of the messages your partners will receive before they are sent. At this stage you can change some of the details in the message.
We only hold on to the information you give us for as long as it takes to send messages and reminders to your partners, and to help you keep track of the messages delivery status of each message you sent. After that, we delete the data you provide to us.
For each STI, there two main factors for you to consider when deciding who to notify.
If you can’t remember them all, just try to remember as many as possible. You might be surprised who you can remember if you try some of these tips: