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This guest post was written by NSH, a Facebook friend of Jenelle Marie’s who responded to her call for submissions asking friends, family and acquaintances for their perspectives about The STI Project and how their opinions have evolved as the website’s taken shape. NSH is currently living with an STD.
I Thought She Was Nuts
I have known Jenelle since before high school.
I have always supported her and her dreams, but when she told me that she was leaving her high-end job as an accountant to begin this STD Project, I thought she was nuts.
We have always been extremely close and have shared stories of boyfriends/sexual encounters, and we agreed that our high school sex-ed classes never really addressed STDs. We also talked about how schools need to change how they talk and introduce STDs.
I must admit, though, at first, I was very hesitant about what she was doing. I didn’t think she would take it as seriously as she did. I thought that this STD Project would last a couple of months, and then she would get bored and move on to other endeavors.
But this is where Jenelle proved me wrong. She went hard core about learning about all the different STDs. The research she did to create a fully informative website was amazing! I had never been so proud! But in the back of my mind, I still wondered how she was going to make a living off of the website.
Money was not what she cared about. She wanted to inform as many people as possible about the different types of STDs and create a comfortable forum where people could ask questions, and she could address the different misconceptions.
I Started to Not Feel Like a ‘Freak’
I was the first herpes interview on The STI Project. I wanted to share my story, and how it affected my life.
While it made me happy to finally share my story and the horrors I went through, I finally realized that I was not alone. The other interviews started to pour in, and I learned how others handled their STDs.
I started to not feel like a ‘freak’ or ‘dirty’ anymore, and I only have Jenelle to thank for that.
Although I handled my STDs in a completely immoral way (not informing my partners until after we had sex), I learned how to properly handle it.
Jenelle was always supportive of me and was willing to answer any questions I had. I had nowhere else to go.
Breaking the STD Stigma
As the STD Project continues to thrive and expand, I actually feel quite comfortable that I do have an STD and want to share with others (those who do and don’t have an STD) the website; so, eventually, we can ‘Break the Stigma’.
Having an STD is becoming more and more common, and many people have no one to ask questions to and often end up on an unreliable website getting inaccurate information or a website that directs them to another website, which directs them to another website and on and on.
Now that I changed careers, I am able to spread the word to a much bigger extent. I would love to have a bumper sticker or pass out flyers at local clubs.
I am so proud of what Jenelle created and how there is a real need to share an accurate website that people may go to and become informed in the privacy of their own homes.
The STI Project is growing and will continue to grow as long as people continue to have sex.
I feel it is my duty to share this website, not only because she is my friend, but because of how helpful and informative it was for me and others. As a person who lives with an STD, I also want to ‘Break the Stigma’ and let other know that there is help for them, if they know where to look.
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This guest post was written by NSH, a Facebook friend of Jenelle Marie’s who responded to her call for submissions asking friends, family and acquaintances for their perspectives about The STI Project and how their opinions have evolved as the website’s taken shape. NSH has been living with herpes for 15 years. A county employee who is looking for a different career, she has a BS in Education, is considering going back to school, has 2 cats and a dog, and loves to read books and work with children. Her boyfriend of 4 years accepted her and the fact that she has an STD. He has not contracted the virus, but he says, if he did, he would not care, because he wants to spend the rest of his life with her. NSH fully supports The STI Project and what it stands for, and she believes that having a healthy sex life begins with complete knowledge about sex, including STDs. Above all, she believes schools need to reform and teach sex-ed in a more effective manner. NSH has an open mind, and would love to discuss her experiences and share her advice with others who are struggling with an STD. She is open about her infection and would be happy to answer any questions or address comments readers have.
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Has your perspective about STDs and those that have them changed since The STI Project’s launch or since you’ve learned more about STDs? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!