Last Updated on July 29, 2021 by Nancy Carteron, MD, FACR
This was an anonymous submission via the contact form.
I found this interview incredibly interesting as it reflects a lot of the feelings one initially experiences upon learning they have contracted an STI/STD, yet, for this person, some of those same emotions prevail even 28 years later.
Living with an STI is different for everyone, and it’s the hope of The STI Project that websites such as this will help ease the strife and eradicate the stigma regardless of when and how an STI came about.
Baby steps, though.
Thanks so much for your submission; sharing your story will truly help others and is an integral part of those baby steps as well!
1. How old are you?
47 years old
2. What do you do for a living?
3. What STI do you have/have you had?
4. How long have you had or known you have an STI?
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5. Do you know how you contracted this STI?
I had my first one night stand while I was on vacation in Europe; he was the 3rd person I had ever had sex with. He never said a word about having herpes, and he denied it later when I called him to tell him he had given me herpes.
It was terribly demoralizing.
I was in a very deep depression and felt a significant amount of shame.
My other friends were much more “promiscuous,” but here I was with one irreversible mistake that I had no control over.
It is always difficult to tell someone I have herpes; it reopens the wound each time I have to tell someone.
6. How has your life changed since you contracted an STI?
It still negatively affects my self-esteem and confidence in my sexuality.
I still feel punished for being sexual in a way.
7. Do the people who know you have an STI treat you differently than they treated you before they knew?
No, but initially, I felt like gossip fodder in my group of 20-something friends.
Now that I am older, it is not a factor.
8. Are you currently under treatment for your STI? If so, please share whether you have explored prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, or holistic and natural approaches.
Valacyclovir is the only medication that seems to help with the outbreaks.
After sex, I suggest that my partner wash with soap and water right away to hopefully reduce chances of transmission.
So far, I have not transmitted herpes to anyone.
9. Has having an STI hindered past relationships?
There is often a bit of pre-sex stress and anxiety, understandably.
10. Do you have a significant other? If so, how has this STI affected your partner?
Not right now.
11. Have you been sexually active with someone since contracting an STI whom you did not tell you had an STI?
I was not given the choice and would not wish that predicament on anyone.
12. How have you changed as a result of contracting an STI?
Absolutely, this completely changed my ideas about my sexuality negatively.
I didn’t always choose a relationship with someone I was most attracted to and interested in for fear of rejection. I chose based on who might not judge me as harshly. I also choose someone who wouldn’t be telling everyone else.
13. Why are you choosing to participate in this interview and/or is there anything else you would like to share with The STI Project?
When I was diagnosed, I had no resource for information and I felt like my sex life was over.
It’s not, and had a resource like this been available, I might not feel as damaged as I do.