Imagine sitting at dinner with your significant other. The conversation consists of some random news items, how their day went and general family stuff. Then the person gets serious and says they have something to discuss with you. If you’re a woman, your eyes may light up because you’re thinking, “Maybe he’s about to propose”, and if you’re a man, you may start to get nervous because you think she’s going to tell you she’s expecting. But neither of these happen. Your significant other tells you that he/she has ___________ . Insert any random incurable disease onto that blank line.

Now comes the awkward silence.

To put things in perspective, here’s a statistical breakdown on STDs in the United States:

  • Estimated number of Americans living with an STD: 65 million
  • Number of new cases of STDs every year: 19 million
  • Number of Americans who will get an STD in their lifetime: 1 in 4
  • Number of unsafe sexual contacts it takes to get an STD: 1
  • Number of Americans who have genital herpes: 45 million
  • Percentage of Americans who have herpes and do not know it: 35
  • Seconds it takes for a new person gets genital herpes: 30
  • Number of people living with HIV/AIDS in America: 468,578
  • Percentage of those people who are African-American: 44
  • Number of people living with HIV who have not been diagnosed: 1 in 5
  • Maximum number of days it takes to detect HIV with a DNA by PCR test: 28
  • Estimated total number of cases of Chlamydia each year: 4,000,000
  • Percentage of women living with Chlamydia who do not know it: 75
  • Estimated cost of Chlamydia complications in the U.S. each year: $2,000,000,000
  • Average cost of antibiotic to treat a case of Chlamydia: $15
  • Percentage of people who have gonorrhea in the throat and do not know it: 90
  • Percentage of people who have syphilis, do not know it, and develop complications years later: 33
  • Estimated increased risk of acquiring HIV if infected with syphilis: 5 times
  • Percentage of IV drug users who are infected with Hepatitis B: 30
  • Percentage of IV drug users who are infected with Hepatitis C: 85
  • Percentage of straight men and women who have had sex with more than 5 people in the last 6 months who have Hepatitis B: 21
  • Number of people out of 100 infected with Hepatitis C who will develop chronic infection: 80

That’s a lot of STDs.

For the record, some STDs are more communicable than others and all of them can be transmitted even when a person has no symptoms. What do you do? What exactly do you say? I?ve never been in that situation, so I can’t imagine how I would react. I guess a person would have to take into account the disease. But is there an incurable disease that is better than another? For example, if one incurable disease doesn?t have the ability to kill you, are you willing to deal with it? But perhaps it?s something potentially life threatening, what do you do then?

If a significant other informed you they had an incurable STD, what would you do?

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