August 25, 2020

My Boyfriend Gave Me an STD

Kissing

Here’s a fun fact for a first date. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention every year in the United States alone twenty million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases and infections occur. This week on the show I wanted to talk about STDs in relationships because of an email that I received a little while back from someone who I’m going to keep anonymous. Her partner cheated, got an STD and then passed it along to her. This person wrote I feel like the worst part of the situation is I can’t tell anyone he gave me this.

Nobody sees it as just an infection it takes a round of antibiotics to get rid of. Where I live we’re taught that it’s an STD and there’s a huge stigma built around that. Sometimes I question if I’m even still with my partner because I feel like nobody else would want me.

That stigma is not isolated to this one person. Studies actually find negative correlations between the amount of STD stigma and the rate that someone will get tested. The more we fear the possibility of us having an STD because we think that it makes us this dirty, disgusting, shameful person, the less likely we are to go get tested and do our due diligence as sex-having people. One thing about STDs and STIs that a lot of us might not realize is that many are asymptomatic meaning that you might have it inside your body but there are no external symptoms to alert you that uh-oh I think I might have an STD. Take chlamydia and gonorrhea for instance.

Here’s a fun fact for a first date.https://www.jbklutse.com/top-6-free-dating-sites-in-ghana/ According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention every year in the United States alone twenty million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases and infections occur. This week on the show I wanted to talk about STDs in relationships because of an email that I received a little while back from someone who I’m going to keep anonymous. Her partner cheated, got an STD and then passed it along to her. This person wrote I feel like the worst part of the situation is I can’t tell anyone he gave me this.

Nobody sees it as just an infection it takes a round of antibiotics to get rid of. Where I live we’re taught that it’s an STD and there’s a huge stigma built around that. Sometimes I question if I’m even still with my partner because I feel like nobody else would want me.

That stigma is not isolated to this one person. Studies actually find negative correlations between the amount of STD stigma and the rate that someone will get tested. The more we fear the possibility of us having an STD because we think that it makes us this dirty, disgusting, shameful person, the less likely we are to go get tested and do our due diligence as sex-having people. One thing about STDs and STIs that a lot of us might not realize is that many are asymptomatic meaning that you might have it inside your body but there are no external symptoms to alert you that uh-oh I think I might have an STD. Take chlamydia and gonorrhea for instance.

Only around twenty to twenty-five percent of women show any symptoms whatsoever whereas most guys will show chlamydia or gonorrhea symptoms. Herpes can lie dormant in your body for years before ever coming out to say, ‘Hello.’ To which you’re like, ‘No, don’t say hello to me herpes!’ So it’s quite possible that someone could bring an STD into a relationship that he or she doesn’t know that he or she already has. I think it’s also worth noting that a recent study found that people who cheat tend to have higher rates of STD contraction because they had–tend to have lower rates of safe sex practices i.e. using condoms.

This is where the obligatory note about condoms comes in. It is well worth remembering, particularly younger sex-havers who statistically are at the highest risk of contracting STDs and STIs because you are likeliest to be like, ‘Condoms are such a drag.’ Your pulling-out method and your birth control that you might be taking or have, whattup IUDs, are not effective barrier methods to preventing the spread of STDs and STIs. Condoms are not perfect and they do require diligence and proper usage, but you know what, requiring diligence and proper usage when it comes to sex is kind of like a good rule to have sex by. Any time you have sex with someone, a good question to ask beforehand is hey, what’s your STD situation, when was the last time you were tested?

Relationships

That is a very fair and not too personal and not rude question to ask. When you start dating someone and you’re having sex and you’re monogamous that’s great however, here is a good safe sex rule of thumb from Lynn Barclay who’s the president and CEO of the American Sexual Health Foundation. Use condoms consistently for the first six months of your relationship and then go get retested.

But here’s the important thing that Barclay outlines about this whole retesting thing and just STD testing in general. There are no standard guidelines for the kinds of tests that you will get and also the frequency of the tests that you should get. If you’re not exactly sure what all you’re getting tested for, ask your doctor and if there are some gaps in there, some tests that you think you should be getting but you aren’t, ask for them.

The first time I asked my gynecologist for the full shebang, a) I did not call the full shebang and b) I initially felt a little embarrassed. What will my doctor think of me? Answer, it doesn’t matter also answer, she’ll probably think I’m a sex-having woman who is doing her due diligence to take care of her own body and also the bodies of people that she is coming into sexual contact with.

STDs can and do happen whether you’re having sex with approximately a gajillion people, also where do you find the time for all that? Or if you’re having sex with just one person. That is why we need to dismantle this shame and stigma around STDs. I think there are far healthier ways for us to deal with STDs on a broader level and the first step in doing that is talking about it.

I want to hear from you, what are your thoughts on the STD stigma and have you contracted an STD within a relationship and what did you do, what advice do you have for other people watching? Let me know in the comments below and as always be sure to ask me your questions so I can give you some answers and some talk about the importance of condoms. Thanks everybody for commenting on last week’s Ask Cristen video ‘Never Been Kissed’.

Here’s a sampling of what you all had to say. Luna LaFae commented, ‘If you’re nervous about finding “the right moment” for a first kiss, asking for consent can be surprisingly sexy and effective. Saying something genuine, like, “I’m feeling a little nervous about this but is it ok if I kiss you?” not only lets the other person know you respect their boundaries, but also probably make them feel less nervous and awkward too.’ Thumbs up for excellent advice Luna LaFae. Val B. said, ‘Haha I’m such an outlier.

My first kiss and boyfriend were when I was 5! I kissed him once and thought it was gross so we never did it again. The day after we “became a couple” he broke up with me because I didn’t want to share a toy.’ Diana commented, ‘My first kiss was totally gross and uncomfortable and I wanted it to end quickly. Luckily after a few more kisses, I found someone who sparked a fire in my heart with every kiss and I never wanted to let go.

Just keep kissing till you find someone who makes your heart race.’ Unless uh what is racing is actually all of the caffeine that you’ve had um in order to make yourself stay awake uh and alert long enough to be able to kiss. But otherwise yes, just keep kissing.

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