Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Saurabh Sethi, MD, MPH
The refreshing part about interviewing people who have contracted an STI is everyone’s perspective is unique. This interview illustrates that contracting an STI – chlamydia and herpes, specifically – doesn’t always result in doom and gloom.
Depending on where you’re from, what type of sexual education program you experienced, or how your parents talked about sexual health – to name just a few contributing factors – you may not encounter as much stigma as someone else. And that, to me, is reassuring.
It means that there’s hope and that stigma surrounding sexually transmitted infections or diseases and those who contract them is just a matter of perspective.
1. How old are you?
2. What do you do for a living?
3. What STD/STI do you have/have you had?
I have had chlamydia once, and I currently have herpes.
4. How long have you had or known you have an STD/STI?
I’ve known about the herpes for about two months now.
5. Do you know how you contracted this STD/STI?
I have an idea, but I’m not completely sure.
I had a great date one night, so we ended the night with what we felt was appropriate. A week later, I was in the hospital getting treated.
6. How has your life changed since you contracted an STD/STI?
I’m much more careful now. Before, I never used condoms. I didn’t like how they felt. But now, I insist on using them.
I don’t want to take the risk of spreading herpes or the risk of me getting another STD.
7. Do the people who know you have an STD/STI treat you differently than they treated you before they knew?
A few people view me as a slut because of it – that I must have gotten it because ‘I get around’. But actually, it was because I was too trusting and naive.
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’m not currently on medication, but I was in the past for breakouts.
9. Has having an STD/STI hindered past relationships?
No, herpes has become somewhat common by now. I think more people are educated about it.
10. Do you have a significant other? If so, how has this STD/STI affected your partner?
Yes, I do. I told my boyfriend about it before we ever got together. He’s completely supportive and loves me the same.
11. Have you been sexually active with someone since contracting an STD/STI whom you did not tell you had an STD/STI?
Yes, I have.
Everyone that I have slept with since finding out knows. And I told a few guys from before I found out just so they could get tested.
I only tell my sexual partners if I have something. No one else needs to know something so personal.
12. How have you changed as a result of contracting an STD/STI?
I’m more careful. I take things slower.
13. Why are you choosing to participate in this interview and/or is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I was scared when I found out I had herpes, and there’s really no reason to be.
I just want my story out there so that other young adults know that they’re not 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!