Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Saurabh Sethi, MD, MPH
One of the most common things we hear when working with those who are recently diagnosed is how utterly alone they feel. The fortunate (or maybe unfortunate) part about those sentiments is that they are felt by millions of people – yes, millions – who have an STD, in this case HSV2.
Millions of people are in your shoes; the trouble is that no one talks about it.
The stigma associated with sexually transmitted infections and diseases is so immense that those who are diagnosed not only feel alone, but they continue to feel that way, because resources are few and far between, and very rarely does one meet others who are sharing their story either publicly or privately with friends and family.
Thank you, interviewee, for sharing your story so that others will know they are not alone too, and please keep in mind, in this case, you are far more ‘normal’ (albeit, normal is a word we typically avoid due to its subjective nature) than you realize. Interestingly enough, the interview that came in one day before yours (and is now posted here) was written by another 33-year-old woman with HSV2.
So, you most definitely are NOT alone, but we understand why you feel that way, and that’s precisely why these interviews are important to us.
1. How old are you?
2. What do you do for a living?
I work full time and go to school part time.
3. What STI/STD do you have/have you had?
4. How long have you had or known you have an STI/STD?
2 1/2 years
5. Do you know how you contracted this STI/STD?
6. How has your life changed since you contracted an STI/STD?
I have never felt more embarrassed in my life. I cried for 2 days when I found out that I had it.
When I told my boyfriend who I had gotten it from, he acted like it was no big deal.
7. Do the people who know you have an STI/STD treat you differently than they treated you before they knew?
Only very close friends. They don’t treat me differently, but I feel like I’m not normal anymore.
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 currently taking an antiviral daily.
9. Has having an STI/STD hindered past relationships?
I have not had a relationship since my ex, and I am too scared and embarrassed to pursue any.
10. Do you have a significant other? If so, how has this STI/STD affected your partner?
11. Have you been sexually active with someone since contracting an STI/STD whom you did not tell you had an STI/STD?
Yes, I have had sex once since my ex. We used a condom, but I felt so gross I could not do it again.
12. How have you changed as a result of contracting an STI/STD?
I feel like less of a person and that I will never have a normal relationship again. A voice keeps reminding me that I am tarnished and cannot undo the past.
I am more withdrawn now when it comes to dating. I wouldn’t know how to tell someone, and I’m too scared of the rejection and ridicule that may come with my reveal.
13. Why are you choosing to participate in this interview and/or is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I’m just praying that I am not alone in feeling this way and that there is a chance that I may come to terms with what I have and how I am no longer myself.
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!