Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Saurabh Sethi, MD, MPH
Interviews like this one remind me how important it is to continue advocating for comprehensive safer sex education.
Unfortunately, it’s the norm rather than the exception that people get diagnosed and know very little about how they contracted an infection – testing, transmission, risk, you name it; most people know very little about STDs, in general. That lack of knowledge further exacerbates an already devastating diagnosis and leaves folks feeling more isolated and less able to move forward.
Thank you, interviewee, for sharing your story and for your willingness to do so soon after having been diagnosed. Writing about your experience and sharing it in this way (or in any way) helps you to move forward productively, but it’s certainly not an easy thing to do – especially so soon after being diagnosed.
1. How old are you?
2. What do you do for a living?
I am, currently, a graduate architecture student.
3. What STI/STD do you have/have you had?
4. How long have you had or known you have an STI/STD?
5. Do you know how you contracted this STI/STD?
6. How has your life changed since you contracted an STI/STD?
It was a huge, devastating blow to my self-esteem, and all I could think when I found out was, ‘I have to live like this for the rest of my life. LIFE!’ And then the tears came.
7. Do the people who know you have an STI/STD treat you differently than they treated you before they knew?
I have only told my husband, so far, and I am too afraid to tell anybody else yet.
My biggest fear is judgement from friends.
8. Are you currently under treatment for your STI/STD? If so, please share whether you have explored prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, or holistic and natural approaches.
I was prescribed Valtrex and lidocaine ointment to ease the pain of my current outbreak.
9. Has having an STI/STD hindered past relationships?
Not yet, and I hope my current relationship with my husband does not become a past relationship.
10. Do you have a significant other? If so, how has this STI/STD affected your partner?
Yes. It was very hard for both of us to understand how this could happen, and my husband felt especially guilty since he had no idea he had the virus.
He had been tested within the last year with all results negative, and since we had just celebrated our 1 year anniversary, it didn’t make sense that he would be infected. I’m sure I didn’t give it to myself or infect him and subsequently reinfect myself.
We are still questioning how this happened, as we have both been faithful to each other since our marriage.
11. Have you been sexually active with someone since contracting an STI/STD whom you did not tell you had an STI/STD?
12. How have you changed as a result of contracting an STI/STD?
I am trying to stay positive, but it’s hard. My emotions have been all over the place since I found out.
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 lucky to find this website, and I hope that it will provide some support for my current condition, and hopefully, it will help me learn to live a normal life.
I also think it will make me feel a bit better to tell someone other than my husband for now.
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!