Youth Workers: How to Respond to an STI Disclosure

July 12, 2022

How to respond when a client discloses an STI:


  • “Thank you for trusting me and telling me that”
  • “I’m here for you”
  • “That might have been a shock to find out, how are you feeling?”
  • “What can I do to support you?”
  • “I’m so glad you told me, I really care about your health and wellbeing”
  • “I think it’s awesome that you’re looking after your health and got an STI test done”


  • Active listening
  • Ask questions mindfully, allow them to share what they want, when they want
  • Support their emotional journey. This may include varying levels of grief, disbelief, anger, denial, support, relief and many other things.
  • Support them to review their use of condoms and dental dams.
  • Clarify their knowledge of the particular STI/s- do they need more information?
  • Support their access to and continuation of (if applicable) medication, treatment and ongoing care.
  • Advocate for the positive support and care of your client
  • Support your client to access counselling if required
  • Support your client to access affirming youth sexual health services if they need ongoing support (Check out our referral resource, for example!)
  • Support your client to consider who they need to inform e.g. Partners. Do they want to tell a friend or family member for support? If your client or young person is employed there are situations where they may need to disclose. Do they need to tell any other support service e.g. Accommodation provider, peers who they have casual sex with or use injecting equipment with (Let Them Know)
  • If your client has experienced abuse they may want to access emotional, physical, psychological or legal services.


  • The methods of transmission of this STI so you can educate your client on how they can pass on this STI or BBV to others.
  • The methods of treatment for this STI.
  • The ways you can reduce their risk of an STI
  • The cultural needs of your client- it may or may not be appropriate for you to have an in-depth conversation about sexual health.