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From FrugivoreHave you ever had to tell a partner that you have a sexually transmitted disease? Have you looked into their eyes, seen the disgust, felt the fear, and noticed the depletion of attraction? Have you sensed the disappointment? Or felt a deep sense of shame as they passed judgment on your health status? Or maybe you decided that this emotional rollercoaster was not worth the conversation. And thus, we, as humans, avoid the vulnerability of admitting that yes our bodies are susceptible to contracting viruses and diseases when we kiss and stroke each other. We hide behind our condoms during intercourse in hopes that everything stays safe and covered; instead of simply admitting that with sex, oral and intercourse, comes risk. It is great to take precaution and practice safe sex, but it is also very possible that you could contract something if you are sexually active, protection or not. That doesn’t make you a “bad” or “irresponsible” person. It just makes you human. And perhaps, it is about time that we open up this conversation.

I’ll start. I’ve been fortunate to only experience minimal health problems as a result of sex. I’ve gotten a few yeast and urinary tract infections, along with a year and a half long experience with low-risk HPV. Thankfully, antibiotics helped clear up my various experiences with yeast and urinary tract infections within days. And my immune system cleared up the HPV on its own. I am healthy, and according to my most recent tests, STD-free. But regardless of my current health status, I’m also aware of the following things due to those experiences. One, I am human. Two, I am not invincible. Three, any type of sex is a health risk. Four, the more I talk about my experiences, the less shame people feel to talk about theirs.
Unlike other body illnesses, STDs have this undying stigma of sexual irresponsibility and reckless behavior. But the truth is, very few people practice completely responsible sex, as “irresponsible” and “unprotected” have become synonymous outside the confines of marriage and long-term monogamous relationships. Let’s be truthful for one minute.

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  • B

    Great article! I agree with the sentiment behind this article. Stigmatizing it only makes the social problem worse.