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It’s always interesting how an HSV2 diagnosis can rock your perception of yourself, making you question your sex appeal and your worth in an instant. Is our appeal, our worth that fragile? I mean, yes, obviously it is, as that was my experience too, but why? Why are we so easily rocked by something that doesn’t always impact our lives in a significant way? That is to say, at least, once we stop allowing it to do so.
This interviewee’s story is simple, sweet, and it resonates, because it’s in stark contrast to the energy of our last interview. And that’s as it should be, because our experiences with STD diagnosis are as diverse as the people who contract them, and to assume otherwise would be doing all of us (you, me, them) a disservice.
Thanks so much, interviewee, for sharing your perspective with us – it’s needed, as they all are, and I love the juxtaposition you inadvertently presented to us today!
1. How old are you?
2. What do you do for a living?
I work part time, and I’m also a college student.
3. What STD/STI do you have/have you had?
4. How long have you had or known you have an STD/STI?
5. Do you know how you contracted this STD/STI?
I have a general idea of who it could be. I’m usually ‘safe,’ but I was unprotected with one of my exes over a year ago. And I also made one bad decision after he broke up with me. So it could be either one of those.
6. How has your life changed since you contracted an STD/STI?
It certainly made me feel some shame and fear. I’ve always been confident and had this sex appeal… And I feel like I’m not the same now.
7. Do the people who know you have an STD/STI treat you differently than they treated you before they knew?
Not at all. I’ve been very lucky in that sense. I was actually surprised to learn that two of my loved ones also have it.
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 completely asymptomatic.
My doctor says, since I’ve never presented symptoms, there’s really not much to do – just practice safer sex.
9. Has having an STD/STI hindered past relationships?
At the time I found out that I had herpes, I had just started dating someone new. Everything was going amazingly well, and I was scared that by telling him, I’d destroy everything.
After a while, I couldn’t hold it in anymore, so I decided to tell him. He was so open-minded, and it didn’t bother him at all.
10. Do you have a significant other? If so, how has this STD/STI affected your partner?
I have a boyfriend. I can say, I’m very blessed because he’s so open. When I told him, he was so cool and comforting.
We have had sex, using protection.
I’m glad this didn’t have any effect on our relationship.
11. Have you been sexually active with someone since contracting an STD/STI whom you did not tell you had an STD/STI?
No. When I told my boyfriend, we hadn’t even kissed yet. I wanted to give him the chance to make a decision before going that far.
12. How have you changed as a result of contracting an STD/STI?
I suppose you can say, I’m a lot more careful.
I’ve realized that we’re not invincible and that anything can happen.
13. Why are you choosing to participate in this interview and/or is there anything else you would like to share with us?
When I found out, I felt like a part of me died. I went online (huge mistake), and everything I saw and read terrified me.
I want people to realize that, yes, it is very hard, but life goes on. There will be people who don’t accept it and criticize. However, you’ll realize who truly is there for you and loves you for who you are.
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!