New Study Reveals the Cities Where People are Least Likely to Tell Their Partner if They Have an STI


  • UK online doctor ZAVA has found that 1,262 sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are diagnosed daily in the UK
  • 20% of Brits would either be unsure about telling or wouldn’t tell their last sexual partner they’d been diagnosed with an STI
  • People from some cities in the UK would be more honest than others about telling their partner they had an infection

JUNE 2019: ZAVA, the online doctor offering fast, convenient and reliable access to advice and treatment, reveals that 1,262 STIs are diagnosed daily. But only 1 in 5 people (20%) would tell their partner they’d got one. People from some cities in the UK would be more likely to cover things up and not tell their sexual partners they’ve got an STI, putting those partners at risk. Take a look at ZAVA’s new graphic to see if you live in a dishonest city.

Alarmingly, ZAVA's new study shows that 1 in 5 (20%) Brits across the UK would not tell their most recent sexual partner(s) that they had an infection. This means that up to 252* infections can go undiagnosed each day. How honest you’re likely to be about getting an infection differs greatly depending on the city that you live in too.

16% of people in Belfast wouldn’t inform their last sexual partner that they’re at risk of infection, followed by 13% of people in Southampton, and 11% of Londoners. This lack of honesty will lead to an increased number of people spreading infections in the long term. A trend reflected in Public Health England’s latest statistics, showing a 5% rise in STI diagnoses from 2018 to 2019.

On the other hand, Brightonians believe honesty is the best policy when it comes to speaking to partners about having an STI; 91% of people said they’d let their partner know they were at risk of infection. There’s no doubt the liberal nature and open culture of the city is the reason why residents would be so honest leading to fewer people being at risk and more treated.

In second place in the honesty stakes, 88% of people in Cardiff would tell their partner rather than lie, followed by 83% of people in Nottingham. You can see the top 10 cities where people are most and least likely cities to tell their partner they’ve got an STI in the full graphic.

Combining government health statistics** with a survey of over 2,000 people, ZAVA's data shows that 1,262 STIs are diagnosed daily, including 623 chlamydia infections, 179 cases of genital warts and 134 gonorrhea infections - a full breakdown can be found in the study.

What’s more, 3 in 5 (60%) Brits admit they’d be embarrassed visiting a doctor if they thought they had an STI and this number rises dramatically to 7 in 10 (68%) in women. This is having an impact on how many women are getting tested for infections. Shockingly, 2 in 5 (38%) women have never had an STI test in their lives, proving that we need to breakdown the taboos surrounding sexual health and infections.

Dr Kathryn Basford, GP at ZAVA comments:

It’s not a surprise that there’s a huge number of STIs being diagnosed daily. Brits are embarrassed to ask for treatment and tell sexual partners that they’re at risk of infection. This will only lead to more people getting and spreading STIs.

The only way to lower the risk of an STI is to use condoms, and have regular STI check-ups. This can be done in the comfort of your own home thanks to home testing kits. As part of ZAVA’s service, if you get a positive result, we can let previous sexual partners know they’re at risk which can take the embarrassment out of the situation completely.

What can I do to prevent catching and passing on an STI? Dr Kathryn Basford advises:

  1. Use a condom during sex: condoms are not 100% guaranteed to prevent infection or pregnancy, but they are extremely effective if used properly. You can also use condoms or dental dams during oral sex.
  2. Avoid sexual contact and sex: if you think you may have an STI, you should immediately stop having any sexual activity until you’re able to get tested and if necessary have treatment.
  3. Regular STI screenings: it’s recommended that you have an STI test at least once a year, or when you change sexual partner(s). You can do this discreetly in the comfort of your own home with ZAVA’s home testing kit.

For more information on the study’s findings or on STI home testing kits, visit ZAVA.

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