File photo: The clinics in the north East and Greater manchester, run by Virgin Care, are piloting the "digital partner notification tool" in an effort to curb STIs. Picture: AFP

Letting an ex know you’ve been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection – and that they might have it too – is never going to be pleasant.

But now Britain's NHS clinics have devised an easy way out – by offering to send an anonymous text bearing the bad news.

The clinics in the north East and Greater manchester, run by Virgin Care, are piloting the "digital partner notification tool" in an effort to curb STIs.

The hope is that once previous sexual partners are informed, they will get tested. Clinic staff will ask those diagnosed with an STI to provide mobile numbers or email addresses for partners. 

Crucially, those who receive a message are not told the source of the potential infection. The text simply reads "you have been identified as someone at risk" and directs the recipient to a website run by SXT, a sexual health information service where they can find their nearest clinic.

Professor Geoffrey Hackett, of the British Society for Sexual medicine, said that clinics had a duty to "trace" partners. "There’s a lot to be said for texting rather than sending a letter to the person’s address, where their mother might read it."

He added that in the age of rapid dating apps like Tinder, "we need all the weapons we’ve got’ to battle STIs."