“I was calling to talk to you about your test results. You have trichomonas, a sexually transmitted disease. You need to take a medication to get rid of it and have your sexual partners treated prior to resuming intercourse in order to prevent reinfection.”
There was silence on the line. I never know how these things will go. Yelling, screaming, sobbing, accusing me of making an error… or stone cold silence. It is always a crap shoot. She had been married for thirty years. I expected it was not going to be pretty.
“Doc, you can’t tell him,” she said finally.
“What do you mean I can’t tell him?”
“My husband. You can’t tell him. Say the medication is for a head cold or something. Just don’t tell him it is for an STD. He will know it was me, that I’ve been cheating on him.”
“He’s your husband but he is also my patient…. I am not here to judge you for having an affair, but I cannot lie about why he is taking a medication. AND this medication is not used for head colds.”
“Fine. But you cannot tell anyone about the test results if I don’t want you to, right? HIPAA laws and all that…”
“Well, let’s talk about that…”
“Wait. Just give me the medication. I will make up something. I promise he will take it.”
“What if I just don’t have sex with him again? It won’t hurt him to not get treated, right?”
So. What would YOU do?