Last Updated on July 29, 2021 by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT
The STI Project Was Awarded and then Un-Awarded A Grant Today
Growing up in a very conservative part of the country, I nearly dropped off of my chair last night when I noticed I was getting referral traffic from The Awesome Foundation via my google analytics (my early education was in accounting, and my website analytics are geeky stimulus for me), so I followed the link through to see how I was referenced on their website.
To my added surprise, it stated I had been awarded July’s grant for The STI Project (I had applied in June and July so far, and they award one grant per local chapter monthly).
I diligently checked my spam inbox, my voice-mail by hand, and the pile of mail I thought I had carelessly discarded to see if I had missed the details or a congratulatory message.
I hadn’t missed anything; I had not received official notification yet……so, my subconscious kicked in and I sent an enthusiastic “just making sure this is real email to the chapter and thank you, thank you, I’m so excited!” Although, the eternal optimist in me was certain there was just a timing error with the national chapter’s post as compared to our local chapter’s website, because locally, the webmaster probably hadn’t had an opportunity to update yet.
After-all, why would it say I had won and why would they have posted my website information, links, etc., had I not won the grant?!?!
I proceeded to blast my personal Facebook page about how excited I was, how this meant I could apply for non-profit designation, and what a blessing this would be for the website, for my readers, and ultimately, toward ending STI stigma.
If leaders in my conservative hometown could see the benefit of The STI Project, people elsewhere were surely to agree.
Unfortunately, an hour ago, I received the news that The STI Project had, in fact, not won July’s grant and someone had accidentally pushed the “winner winner, chicken dinner” button.
I don’t know about you, but I had no intention of using the funds to host a chicken dinner!
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The Fight to End STI/STD Stigma Carries On! 🙂
Disappointing as it were – especially because I had publicly posted my exhilaration and there are a faction of individuals who would like to see me fail – this further validates the necessity of The STI Project. The leadership in my conservative town (at least not the ones who sit on the board of The Awesome Foundation) had not seen the value in my project.
Thus, I must continue until people everywhere see how The STI Project is helping so many.
The notoriety would have been delightful as well. I’d like to say I’m doing this completely and wholly altruistically, but I don’t believe anyone can ever do anything with 100% altruism. I still want this to succeed. And because I enjoy what I do every day, finally, and I believe in this project with every fiber of my being, I will not let an un-award be my set-back. (Can’t believe I just wrote un-award – the ridiculousness is not at all lost on me!)
There are so many people who reach out to me personally – on a daily basis – pouring their hearts out and sharing their stories with me, because quite frankly, they have no one else to reach out to. I’ve been there.
The STI/STD stigma which presides is nothing short of horrendous and leaves so many people without a place to turn for comfort, grief, healing, etc.
So, gosh dang it – I’m not quitting!
Rather, I am going to work harder.
I am going to work until people see how affected they are by STIs, how so many people are silently suffering and being defamed or berated, and how this can change via communication, education, and acceptance.
The wind has NOT been taken out of my sails.
- About The STI Project
- More on STD Stigma
- Dealing with and Eradicating Stigma
- About The STI Project’s Executive Director
- How to Not Give an Eff about Having an STI
- All about Herpes Disclosure
- STI/STD Stigma
- Thomas JA, Ditchman N, Beedle RB. The impact of knowledge, self-efficacy, and stigma on STI testing intention among college students. J Am Coll Health. (2020).
- Hood JE, Friedman AL. Unveiling the hidden epidemic: a review of stigma associated with sexually transmissible infections. Sex Health. (2011).
- Wombacher K, Dai M, Matig JJ, Harrington NG. Using the integrative model of behavioral prediction to understand college students’ STI testing beliefs, intentions, and behaviors. J Am Coll Health. (2018).
- Lee ASD, Cody SL. The Stigma of Sexually Transmitted Infections. Nurs Clin North Am. (2020).
- Hutchinson P, Dhairyawan R. Shame, stigma, HIV: philosophical reflections. Med Humanit. (2017).
- Tan RKJ, Kaur N, Kumar PA, Tay E, Leong A, Chen MI, Wong CS. Clinics as spaces of costly disclosure: HIV/STI testing and anticipated stigma among gay, bisexual and queer men. Cult Health Sex. (2020).
- Shepherd L, Harwood H. The role of STI-related attitudes on screening attendance in young adults. Psychol Health Med. (2017).
- Newton DC, McCabe MP. Sexually Transmitted Infections: Impact on Individuals and Their Relationships. Journal of Health Psychology. (2008).
- Charlton BM, Hatzenbuehler ML, Jun HJ, Sarda V, Gordon AR, Raifman JRG, Austin SB. Structural stigma and sexual orientation-related reproductive health disparities in a longitudinal cohort study of female adolescents. J Adolesc. (2019).
There’s the Jenelle I know and love. Let this absolutely be the fuel to move onto even better and bigger things!!!! I have faith you will!
🙂 I love this comment; thank you. What does inspire me and what will continue to inspire me are all of the people, much like myself, who understand adversity – whether they would have chosen to or not – because, it is our adversity which makes us beautiful, interesting, and unique. Interestingly enough, that same adversity also brings us closer together and helps us form bonds with whom we may have thought the most unlikely of characters. The STI Project will prevail, and will, without a doubt in my heart, succeed.