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“Hiya. I just wanted to let you know that I got my test results back and it turns out that I have gonorrhea in my throat. I thought you might want to know, since we fooled around the other night…”
Just got this message? Well, that officially makes you a contact case.
“Contact case”. It almost sounds like a song by Gabrielle Destroismaisons. But alas, nope!
Contact case is a medical term used to designate a person who has been in contact with another person who has been diagnosed with an infection or contagious disease. It is also used in cases of sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs). When referring to the person who is carrying the original infection, we use the term “patient zero”.
If you bump uglies with someone who is a patient zero, you automatically become a contact case, even without an official diagnosis.
When a patient zero informs you of their infection status, you must make an appointment to get tested for STBBIs. You’ll see that it’s actually suuuuuper fast, and you can even squeeze your appointment between two activities.
What matters is to make an appointment as soon as possible. Ideally, it’s recommended that you make an appointment at a medical clinic, because you can be offered the fast-track partner treatment without first having to wait for your test results, whether or not you have symptoms.
If you don’t have symptoms and don’t want to receive the accelerated treatment for partners, that is, getting treated before getting your test results back, you can make an appointment at a screening clinic, such as Prelib 👋.
Given that not all infections are detectable within the same period after exposure, you have to take into account different window periods when scheduling your screening appointment. This will allow you to have better peace of mind.
Are your test results positive? No need to panic. It will be important to follow the recommendations and take the appropriate treatments. Once you’ve recovered from the shock of learning your status,
it will be important to contact your partners to notify them of your test results.
You have pokémon-evolved to a patient zero yourself and need to inform your own contact cases!
Many people with an STBBI don’t have any symptoms and simply don’t know they are infected. After all, if you hadn’t been told that you were a contact case, you probably wouldn’t have got tested!
Notifying your partners will allow them to quickly consult a healthcare professional and get tested. It will also allow them to receive the appropriate treatments (if necessary), avoid possible health complications, and avoid transmitting the infection to others without knowing it.
In short, by notifying your partners, you are protecting them and yourself, and you are showing them that you care about their wellbeing and are a responsible person. In any case, it sure boosts your karma!
Don’t worry: you don’t have to notify EVERY single person with whom you’ve had sex. You can leave your first year philosophy class crush in peace. #Socrates
Once you receive your test results, a healthcare professional can help you identify which partners you need to notify. When the time comes to notify the identified partners, you have several options.
First, if you have their contact information and are comfortable doing so, you can choose to contact your partner directly. It’s definitely not a fun conversation to have, but it’s super important. Who knows, maybe your maturity and transparency will bring you closer together!
Being honest is hot, hot, hot!
When you contact them, remember to include the following information in your message: the name of the infection, the fact that it can cause health complications if left untreated, and the fact that they can be infected even if they have no symptoms.
Without ringing big alarmist bells like Quasimodo at the top of his cathedral, you can also inform your partner that they should consult a nurse or doctor as soon as possible to go get tested. If they don’t have any symptoms, you can refer them directly to Prelib or to another screening clinic for an online appointment.
If the idea of having this conversation makes you petrificus totalus or you are afraid of not being able to find the right words, you can check out this article for ideas of what to send to your partners: gentle and caring words go a long way. gentle and caring words go a long way.
Are you really uncomfortable with the idea of doing this on your own? That is understandable and your boundary is totally valid. Anonymous and completely confidential notification services are also available, free of charge.
With regard to an HIV-positive test result, given the stress involved, you may need additional support while disclosing. Don’t hesitate to discuss the disclosure process with a healthcare professional.
To avoid infecting someone else or getting reinfected via undiagnosed contact cases, it is recommended that you abstain from sexual activity until it has been seven days since the end of a single or multiple rounds of treatment and until you have no more symptoms. This short break will allow you to protect your partners. It’s worth it.
If you decide to have sex anyway, it’s very important that you use a condom for ALL your oral, anal, and vaginal sexual encounters for the WHOLE duration of your treatment.
During oral sex, use a dental dam to cover the vulva or anus and avoid direct contact with the mouth. If you share sex toys, cover them with a condom and change condoms between each partner.
If you use drugs, always use sterile paraphernalia and do not share your equipment.
Voilà. Now all you have to do is wait for the end of your treatment.
Never forget that you’re not alone and that your test results don’t define you as a person. Every year, over 40,000 Quebecers are diagnosed with an STBBI.
To find out more about screening and STBBIs, visit the DépistaFest website.
See you on the dance floor! 🎶It’s gettin’ hot in here (So hot), so take off all your clothes (Ohh), I am gettin’ so hot, I wanna take my clothes off 🎶