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If you're diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI), it's important that you let those you've had intercourse with know. Even if you used protection, there is a chance that they might have contracted the infection, which means they could pass it onto others.

However, that conversation isn't one of the most comfortable to have and can leave both parties feeling awkward. You may even find that the other person gets angry, which can be reason enough to want to put off letting them know - although this really isn't an option.

Rather than having to deal with a phone call, message or face to face meeting that could be fairly horrific, a new service could offer the answer.

A free messaging service that allows you to send an anonymous text or email to past sexual partners who may have given you an STI or who might have caught one from you is taking the embarrassment out of the process.

Virgin Care's Teesside Sexual Health Service is currently trialling a new service that lets you easily notify those who could be at risk through an anonymous service. During an appointment to be tested for STIs or afterward via an online form, people just need to give the phone number of previous sexual partners who may be at risk.

Following this, the clinic sends out a text to inform those on their list that they could have an STI and to advise getting tested as soon as possible. The message is totally anonymous so they won't know it's you.

As well as information regarding the STI, the text will also include a link to the nearest sexual health service and a unique code that they can use online to get more information regarding the infection they could have.

Currently, the service is being tested in Redcar, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool and Stockton for three months.

Michaela Geldard, senior nurse at Virgin Care's Rochdale Sexual Health Service, said: “Notifying partners has always been an important part of the battle against the spread of sexually transmitted infections. This new tool is [a] faster and potentially more effective way of ensuring people who are at risk get themselves tested, and don’t end up passing infections on.

“It’s hoped the opportunity to add further partners using a private online system from the comfort of home will mean people who test positive will feel more confident at notifying everyone they have had sexual contact with.”