About STD Partner Notification
You’ve been notified about a potential exposure to a sexually transmitted infection
If you’ve arrived at this web page, it means you received a text and/or email message from a sexual partner who has been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or sexually transmitted infection (STI), like chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis.
Don’t panic: This message does not necessarily mean that you have one of these infections, but there is a chance you may have exposed during sex. It is very important to talk to a medical provider in a timely manner and get tested at any of the locations listed below. We encourage timely testing and treatment to ensure that any potential infection does not cause lasting damage or more serious complications.
- Who sent you this message?
- This message is being sent anonymously from the Rhode Island Department of Health’s RIghtTime app. There is no way for anyone to identify you or the person who has sent you this notification. Know that whoever sent this message cared enough about you to tell you so you can get tested and, if needed, get treated.
- What disease have I been exposed to?
- You may have been exposed to chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis. Given this process is anonymous, we recommend being tested for all three. Know that this system is not used to notify partners of an HIV exposure, so it is unlikely you have been exposed to HIV, but we would still recommend being tested for HIV as well.
- Why should I get tested?
- In recent years, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have become more common in Rhode Island and nationally. While curable, many STIs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis can cause serious health problems if they are not treated quickly and you can easily spread them to other sexual partners.
- Could I have received this accidentally or as a prank?
- In order to prevent any misuse, the RIghtTime notification tool is a passcode-required system that can be accessed only by people who have been diagnosed with an STI. Since the person who sent the anonymous message entered your phone number or email address into the app, it is possible that you may have received this message in error if they entered a wrong digit or letter. Even if you have your doubts, sexually active people should consider testing for STIs at least once a year, so take the opportunity to get tested and set your mind at ease — even if you think you got this message by mistake.
What you should do
Get tested as soon as possible
Because you may have been exposed to an STD, you should get tested as soon as possible. After that, you should get an STD check-up at least once a year (and better to get tested more often), even if you don't have any symptoms. There are many options for getting tested for STDs in Rhode Island, including:
Protect yourself and your partners from STDs
- You should not have any type of sex (including oral) until you get your test results and, if infected, have been fully treated;
- If you do have sex (remember: you should not have sex until your doctor tells you it is safe), it is very important that you use condoms. (The Department of Health distributes free condoms at many locations across the state);
- Use condoms correctly;
- Use of alcohol and drugs can increase your chances of engaging in risky sexual behavior. Avoid use of alcohol and drugs during sexual activity;
- Consider going on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV infection.
- Talk openly with your partner and health care provider about sexual health and STDs;
- Talk with your healthcare provider about your sex life, and ask what STD tests you should be getting and how often;
- If you're not sure how to talk to your partner, check out tips for starting the conversation.
Most STDs can be cured with antibiotics. Other STDs are not curable but can be treated. To make sure your treatment works, don't share your medicine with anyone, and avoid having sex again until you and your sex partner(s) have each completed treatment. If you are diagnosed with an STD, it's important to tell your partners to get checked so that you don't get re-infected.
If you have any questions and want to talk to a health educator at the Rhode Island Department of Health, you can call our RIghtTime notification hotline at 401-536-4342 (Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.)