If tests show that you have an STD, your sex partners — including your current partners and any other partners you’ve had over the last three months to one year — need to be informed so that they can get tested and treated if infected. Each state has different requirements, but most mandate that certain STD’s be reported to the local or state health department. Public health departments frequently employ trained disease intervention specialists who can help with partner notification and treatment referrals.
Official, confidential partner notification can help limit the spread of STD’s, particularly for syphilis and HIV. The practice also steers those at risk toward appropriate counseling and treatment. And since you can contract some STD’s more than once, partner notification reduces your risk of getting reinfected.