Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Saurabh Sethi, MD, MPH
Most folks assume that when they ask for STD testing they are being tested for everything. That’s not actually possible, but they don’t know that. Then when they’re diagnosed with an infection, they are shocked and left scrambling for answers, because they weren’t told that they could only be tested for a few of the 30+ infections that exist, and they don’t know which infections were included in their STD panels.
At The STI Project, we hear this over and over again, much like in the interview below. It can be so frustrating to know that your experiences could be far less traumatic and confusing if we just spent a little more time with each person who was getting tested or if we just provided a little more detail in our sexual health and wellness classes, but that’s why it’s so important we continue to share these experiences. The below reaction is what’s most common, and we can’t begin to fix these shortcomings without first acknowledging that they exist. So, thank you, interviewee, because your story will help us to make things better for others!
1. How old are you?
I am 40.
2. What do you do for a living?
I am a designer.
3. What STI/STD do you have/have you had?
I have Herpes type 1.
4. How long have you had or known you have an STI/STD?
I have had it 2 weeks.
5. Do you know how you contracted this STI/STD?
Someone I was seeing for the past 2 months gave it to me.
6. How has your life changed since you contracted an STI/STD?
So far, I feel a bit numb.
I feel as though life is pretty much altered forever.
7. Do the people who know you have an STI/STD treat you differently than they treated you before they knew?
I have not been able to tell anyone about this yet. Not certain I can bare the burden of explaining it just yet.
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 am on Valtrex.
9. Has having an STI/STD hindered past relationships?
Being diagnosed has ruined my relationship with the man who gave it to me. He had no idea he was infected and cannot believe we both have this now.
10. Do you have a significant other? If so, how has this STI/STD affected your partner?
Having this diagnosis has destroyed my relationship with the man I was seeing. We both tested before dating and waited for results before being intimate.
We had no idea we were not being tested for herpes.
We also always used a condom, and so this scenario seems so hard to accept. Both our brains are not wrapped around this yet.
11. Have you been sexually active with someone since contracting an STI/STD whom you did not tell you had an STI/STD?
I have not been intimate since having my first outbreak. I have just finally returned to health, and I do not known when the next outbreak will occur? Sigh!
12. How have you changed as a result of contracting an STI/STD?
I feel different, for certain. At the moment, I cannot look at a photo of myself from before I had herpes. I am sad and wish I could turn back the clock.
I had actually broken up with this man a week before contracting herpes, but we got back together and the night we did [I think] resulted in my contracting the infection.
13. Why are you choosing to participate in this interview and/or is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I am participating in this interview because it is the only way I feel I can start to talk about what is happening to me. My partner and I talk about it, but he also is very upset and depressed, and so when we talk, I end up having to cheer him up or I feel more upset after the conversation. I just wish there was someone strong there for me right now; he is not that person.
Thank you for this website/blog. It has truly saved my sanity these past few weeks. Without it, I do not know how I would have coped with the diagnosis.
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!