Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Nancy Carteron, MD, FACR
It’s completely normal, after contracting genital herpes, chlamydia, or any other STD to be worried about transmitting it to others. That means you are not a heartless human being. Yey, you. In fact, your concern for others while still in the midst of grappling with a potentially traumatic diagnosis further emphasizes that you are a good person.
You are dealing with something that very few people talk about and that doesn’t come with any instructions.
And it’s ok if you screw up. We all screw up, somewhere down the line, whether it’s related to having an STD or something else entirely. What distinguishes you from a total jerk is that you are able to acknowledge your missteps and then work toward correcting them.
If you didn’t tell a partner that you had an infection, I’ll be the first to tell you that you aren’t scum. Do better next time. If you transmitted your infection to a partner, I’ll be the first to tell you that you aren’t a monster. Those things happen.
It’s ok to be afraid, and it’s ok to mess up. The important part is that you keep learning and moving forward. Coming here was a great first step. 🙂
1. How old are you?
2. What do you do for a living?
Flower shop owner
3. What STD/STI do you have/have you had?
I had chlamydia years ago, and have genital herpes.
4. How long have you had or known you have an STD/STI?
I got a blood test after my 2nd outbreak to confirm my self-diagnosis. That was 2 and a half years ago.
5. Do you know how you contracted this STD/STI?
Most of my partners never used condoms.
The last partner I had before the outbreaks refused to use condoms, and no one ever told me they had the virus, so I do not know when I contracted it. I had my first outbreak months after we broke up.
6. How has your life changed since you contracted an STD/STI?
My life changed a lot.
I was severely ashamed and depressed; as a result, I sought out counseling. In a way, it helped me get healthy emotionally, because I had to asses my life and why I felt the way I did about an STD in the first place.
I also have to deal with outbreaks. I can’t have sex without using condoms, and I have to tell my partners about the condition, which can be scary because of the fear of rejection.
7. Do the people who know you have an STD/STI treat you differently than they treated you before they knew?
No, they are usually supportive, but I have only told a few people about it.
I still have a hard time talking about it, because I know the stigma is still out there, and I have heard people tell herpes jokes and it hurts.
8. Are you currently under treatment for your STD/STI? If so, please share whether you have explored prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, or holistic and natural approaches.
I have used prescription medication for outbreaks, but I did not notice any difference in the healing time.
I do try to eat healthy and take supplements, but I have not found anything yet that really helps, and I will continue to research options for this condition.
The main thing I have noticed that helps is keeping the infected area clean, dry, and to get lots of rest.
9. Has having an STD/STI hindered past relationships?
I don’t think it was the STD, itself, that has hindered my past relationships. I do think you have to really trust that the person does love and accept you even with an STD for the relationship to be strong.
It’s hard for me to accept myself as I am, and I have a fear of transmitting it to someone.
10. Do you have a significant other? If so, how has this STD/STI affected your partner?
I am engaged to be married, and he does not have any STDs.
I told him about it right away, and he was very kind. He said that he thought about it, and that if we are together and get married, it will only affect us, and we wont be spreading it to other people.
We still use condoms and are trying to be really careful not to transmit it to him. I know he worries about getting it but still wants to be with me.
11. Have you been sexually active with someone since contracting an STD/STI whom you did not tell you had an STD/STI?
Yes, there was one person I did not tell.
I didn’t have enough trust in them to tell them, so I just made sure they used a condom. I didn’t feel right about it, but I couldn’t overcome my fear of rejection.
12. How have you changed as a result of contracting an STD/STI?
I am more aware of who I am. I have had to change the way I think about myself, and I try to help people understand the importance of picking out the right sexual partner and to use protection.
Having an STD doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, but you do have to live with it every day, and it affects your future relationships.
13. Why are you choosing to participate in this interview and/or is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I have never really talked about it, except with my counselor, and I think its important to talk about it with supportive people.
I still struggle emotionally with having an STD. When I have an outbreak, it brings me down, and I start to think I’m not a worthy person of love. It’s uncomfortable, and I really don’t want to spread this to another human being, but I am in love with my fiance and want to have a relationship.
I have ups and downs and I wish I could have been more open about the situation from the start and gotten more support. I would say that if you ever contract something, find people to talk to right away so you don’t feel so alone.
Can you relate to this interviewee? Did it help you to read someone else’s story? Have you experienced something similar or do you have some feedback to share with this individual? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!