Parade magazine this week raised the question of how do you tell a partner you have an STD and that you might have passed it on to him or her. One of the means suggested to use is the e-card that tells your partner that you discovered you have an STD (pull-down menus enable you to be more specific) and that he or she should get tested and treated if necessary. The e-card is certainly preferable to not revealing this—after all, there is an ethical obligation to disclose your possible part in transmitting an STD to another person. But, there are other ways and the ways one uses seems to depend on the relationship between the people and on the personalities of the person’s involved. You obviously wouldn’t tell a one-time affair partner in the same way or through the same channel that you’d tell a life-time partner (about the one-time affair and the possible STD consequence). I’m not sure a relationship partner of 10 or 20 years is going to respond well to an e-card. It’s similar to breaking up by post-it note. At any rate, I thought this would make an interesting question to use in class to illustrate that effective communication is situational.

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