This person has so graciously volunteered to be our first interview – yey!!! (And then, recently, she wrote a follow-up about how The STD Project has impacted her.)
Thank you for sharing your story for The STD Project and for the many readers interested in hearing more.
One woman’s story about contracting genital herpes and chlamydia:
1. How old are you?
29 years old
2. What do you do for a living?
Elementary School Teacher
3. What STD do you have/have you had?
Genital Herpes, I had Chlamydia once
4. How long have you had or known you have an STD?
15 years of genital herpes
5. Do you know how you contracted this STD?
Through oral sex. My boyfriend at the time went down on me.
I was still a virgin (penetration style).
6. How has your life changed since you contracted an STD?
Oh Lord… where do I begin? Friendships have been destroyed, scandals at the workplace.
I’ve learned a lot about myself, who to trust and who are TRUE friends. I made the mistake of a telling a few friends, who then spread it around to others.
Professionally, it has not hindered me one bit… if anything, it made me work harder.
7. Do the people who know you have an STD treat you differently than they treated you before they knew?
But there is one person who has been in my life for the last 16 years, who has been nothing but supportive and a great, dependable, trustworthy friend. 🙂
If it weren’t for her, I don’t know how I would’ve survived this…
8. Are you currently under treatment for your STD? If so, please share whether you have explored prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, or holistic and natural approaches.
I fully believe in the power of prescription medication. But then again, I never explored a holistic approach; therefore I can say nothing about it.
I was on Acyclovir 400mg daily as a preventative approach. I was to double the dose when I had an outbreak. It did not work well for me. I also tried the Zovirax topical cream, and that did not help at all. I still had outbreaks about every month. I lived this way for 10 years. Then, I moved out of state, found a new doctor and now take Valtrex 1 gram daily.
I have been outbreak free for 5 YEARS due to what I believe is the change in medication.
9. Has having an STD hindered past relationships?
Yes, but I learned that those type of people didn’t deserve my love.
I have had 4 major relationships who all knew about it and accepted it (and never contracted it).
10. Do you have a significant other? If so, how has this STD affected your partner?
Yes, I have a boyfriend of almost 3 years and he has not contracted it. He is not worried about it.
11. Have you been sexually active with someone since contracting an STD whom you did not tell you had an STD?
Yes, and I do feel a great amount of regret…. (except for the one guy who gave me Chlamydia 🙂 )
12. Currently what types of birth control products do you use?
(Reader submitted question)
The pill and condoms (every single time)
13. Did you have any horror stories to share?
(Reader submitted question)
I contracted herpes when I was 15. I self-diagnosed myself when reading through a Cosmo magazine. I remember waking up my mom in the middle of the night to tell her. She took me to her gynecologist the next day.
The gynecologist told me it was ‘the worst case he had seen in his 20 years.’ How traumatized do you think I was at 15 years old? I thought I was a leper and everyone knew my secret.
Admin note: I was also told my case was the worst the M.D. had ever seen – while the first herpes break-out is generally the worst of the break-outs and subsequent break-outs are likely to be much less in severity – the way this was messaged by the medical practitioner was insensitive and more alarming than it needed to be. It is incredibly disconcerting this has happened to more than one person. The STD Project aims to help alleviate the stigma medical practitioners feels as well. Changing the way STDs are viewed will also help to change how contracting an STD is messaged by them as this is often times the first and one of the few conversations the person with an STD will have with anyone about their STD.
14. Why are you choosing to participate in this interview with The STD Project?
I have wanted to be a part of this since the very beginning stages of this organization.
My very dear friend decided that she wanted to make a difference in STD acceptance. She was the one who got me through these past 15 living with genital herpes because we were able to talk openly about our symptoms and experiences that we had both been experiencing.
The other reason I wanted to be part of this, is to raise awareness about contracting an STD through oral sex. I wish that more information about different types of protection such as dental dams were available. This little bit of information is left out of most public school programs.
What do you think about her story? How was your experience similar or different? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!