Online Partner Notification Service
Sometimes, even if you’re really careful, you can pick up an infection when you have sex. You won’t always know about it, because sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, don’t always have symptoms. That’s why people diagnosed with an infection are advised to tell their recent partners about it. If one of your partners was diagnosed with an STI, you’d probably want to know, right?
But some men find it hard to share this kind of news and this is why GMFA, funded by EJAF, developed an online partner notification service.
This service makes it easier for men who have been diagnosed with an STI at a participating clinic (see list below) to inform their recent sexual partners. The service can deliver messages via text message, email and to your inbox on Gaydar, Recon, Manhunt, Fitlads, Adam4Adam, Dudesnude and BarebackRT (more websites and mobile apps will be added in due course). However, if you are member of Gaydar or Recon, before you can receive notifications, you have to adjust your profile settings to say that it’s ok for us to deliver messages to you. It’s easy to do this:”
- On Gaydar, hover your mouse over the tab ‘My Gaydar’ and select ‘Settings’ from the bottom of the menu that drops down. A pop-up appears and the fifth item in it is ‘GMFA Messages’. Click on the plus symbol (+) to expand this menu item and then tick the box that says ‘Allow GMFA to send messages to my profile’. Close the ‘Settings’ menu and you’re done!
- On Recon, select ‘My Account’ at the bottom of the left hand menu. Then select ‘Privacy’ from the bottom of the submenu that appears in the left hand menu. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and under ‘GMFA Messages’ tick the box that says ‘Allow GMFA to send messages to my Message Centre Inbox’. Simple as that.
If you are diagnosed with something and you are thinking about notifying your recent partners, here are some things to remember:
- If you feel embarrassed about contacting a partner, or you’re concerned about how a partner will react to being told, you can use our service to send your message anonymously.
- Our messaging service does not hold onto data about you or your partners. As soon as we’re done sending your messages the data is erased.
- Our service will not suggest that you infected him or that he infected you. Instead it will just tell your partner that someone he had sex with has been diagnosed with an infection and that he should get a check-up.
- Other STIs are more infectious than HIV so, even if you used condoms or didn’t fuck, it’s possible that your partner may have picked up your infection, or passed it on to you.
- If you need to notify lots of sexual partners, it will be faster to use our service than it would be to call them individually.
- Informing partners will help reduce the amount of STIs in the community. This can make it less likely that you’ll pick up an STI in future.
- Your sexual partners would rather know that they might have picked up an infection. Almost all of the 3,000 gay men we surveyed told us they would like to be informed if a recent partner were diagnosed with an STI1
- Not all STIs have symptoms. Even if you had obvious symptoms, there is a chance that anyone you picked the infection up from or passed it on to won’t have symptoms. Unless you tell them about your diagnosis, they won’t get their infection diagnosed.
- An untreated infection can have a serious impact on a person’s health.
The following clinics are currently inviting the men they diagnose with an STI to use our online partner notification service:
1. 56 Dean Street
2. Barts Sexual Health Centre (St Barts)
3. Bristol Sexual Health Centre
4. Burrell Street Centre for Sexual Health (Guy’s Hospital)
5. Camberwell Sexual Health Centre, Kings College Hospital
6. Claude Nicol Centre Brighton (GU Medicinie & HIV Testing)
7. Homerton University Hospital Department of Sexual Health
8. Josephine Butler Centre for Sexual Health (Clayton Hospital)
9. Lincoln Sexual Health Services
10. Lloyd Clinic (Guy’s Hospital)
11. Mortimer Market Centre
12. New Croft Centre Newcastle Sexual Health Service
13. Oxford GU Services
14. Royal Hallamshire Hospital Sheffield Centre for Sexual Health
15. Royal Bath University Hospital Sexual Health Clinic
16. Sandyford - Greater Glasgow & Clyde’s Sexual Health Centre
17. Southend University Hospital Sexual Health Clinic
18. The Manchester Centre for Sexual Health
19. West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust
20. Wye Valley NHS Trust
We have worked very hard to make sure we protect the privacy of people using and messaged by this new service. We only hold on to the contact details of partners for as long as it takes to make sure that the message has got through (or until we know it can't get through).
1 GMFA's survey on gay men's experience and expectations of Partner Notification Services was conducted in January and February 2010. Over 3,000 gay and bisexual men took part.