Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Saurabh Sethi, MD, MPH
While this interviewee’s infection was likely acquired through her work as a preschool teacher, the stigma associated with a highly contagious viral infection still persists and causes incredible barriers to dating and having a sex life. A lot of folks get hung up on how something was contracted, but the focus should be on how to treat the symptoms and moving forward with your life, because that is often the most challenging aspect of contracting an infection.
Molluscum is no different, because although it does go away eventually, most people have it for a significant amount of time, and while there are still physical symptoms, it’s highly contagious. The good news is this won’t deter all relationships, but it definitely will weed out the people who are most interested in a physical relationship over an emotional one.
Thank you so much, interviewee, for being willing to share your frustration so that others know they are not alone as well.
1. How old are you?
2. What do you do for a living?
3. What STD/STI do you have/have you had?
Molluscum contagiosum (MC). I also have reoccurring BV (bacterial vaginosis/vaginitis) that I can’t get rid of.
I have not had sex in over a year.
4. How long have you had or known you have an STD/STI?
Next week marks 6 months.
5. Do you know how you contracted this STD/STI?
I actually did not contract this STD sexually – I either got it at the swimming pool or from one of my preschool students. It’s extremely frustrating to contract something like this when I wasn’t having sex, but it has completely changed my life for months.
6. How has your life changed since you contracted an STD/STI?
I fell into a hopeless depression. I was single, still reeling from a break up that had happened 9 months ago, and insecure. Now, I had contracted an STD, non-sexually, but it doesn’t matter. I’m 22; of course I want to be dating. But any new men I’ve met stop talking to me once I reveal the molluscum.
I guess it’s a way to weed out the boys who are only interested in sex…which seems to be every single 2o-something male…
7. Do the people who know you have an STD/STI treat you differently than they treated you before they knew?
My girl friends who know are very supportive and understanding, but there’s only so much they can say or do. Men are not interested in me because of 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 have tried EVERYTHING.
Twice weekly cyrotherapy (having the lesions frozen off), retin-A, nail polish, apple cider vinegar… I am trying curettage – having the lesions surgically removed – next month, but this option is expensive.
9. Has having an STD/STI hindered past relationships?
Yes. Completely. Men who have dated me for a month or more instantly flee once they find out. No one wants to be susceptible to a contagious virus such as this.
10. Do you have a significant other? If so, how has this STD/STI affected your partner?
11. Have you been sexually active with someone since contracting an STD/STI whom you did not tell you had an STD/STI?
No, never. I could never do that to someone. This has been hell!
12. How have you changed as a result of contracting an STD/STI?
I am sad and more socially reserved now. Mostly, it has impacted my dating life entirely.
13. Why are you choosing to participate in this interview and/or is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I have felt so alone and so stigmatized, until I found the stories on this site. They helped me to know I’m not alone, and this is ultimately “temporary” even if I’ve had it for half a year now and it’s showing no signs of going away anytime soon.
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!