What if you had an STI, but were too embarrassed to tell your partner? Partner Services is a department at Howard Brown Health that’s designed to anonymously notify people that they may have an STI and need to get screened.
Phillip Prado is the manager of Partner Services at Howard Brown, and he’s been working in public health for over 6 years. Partner Services is important for intervening in the spread of infection and connecting people to care as soon as possible. They currently focus on assisting those who are newly HIV positive or who have syphilis, because of the rates of infection for these two STIs are on the rise in Chicago.
Phillip and his team “take the awkwardness out of telling your partner that they may have an STI.” They contact people anonymously and privately on Facebook, phone, text, emails, the Howard Brown patient portal, and dating apps like Adam4Adam, Scruff, and Grindr. If you can hook up with someone on it, Partner Services probably has an account for it.
“We meet people where they are.”
Even though some clients may feel uncomfortable with the service at first, Partner Services tries to foster a sex-positive, shame-free environment. “Many symptoms hard to see at first. Getting people screened as soon as possible can greatly improve people’s lives and health outcomes,” Phillip explains. By sharing judgement-free information about symptoms, services, and treatment with more people, Partner Services plays a vital role in keeping the LGBTQ community healthy.
“We strive to make everyone as comfortable as possible. I try to explain to people that they’re not the first person with an STI. It could happen to anyone. It’s not their fault. Treatment is available.”
You can get quick HIV/STI screening and treatment at our Sexual Health Walk-in Clinics. It’s a quick and low-cost service. No appointment needed. Learn more at howardbrown.org/walk-in-clinic