Why there is no shame in having and talking about an STD

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A particularly embarrassing situation arises when you contract an STD, but a doctor has revealed that there is a new solution to this problem.

When it comes to sexual health, I thought I knew everything there was to know. I went to a very Christian high school and was fiercely told that sex should be reserved for marriage.

Then I went to college in a country town, as a single young girl, and quickly learned the importance of a condom.

Every week I felt like escorting a friend to the local GP and holding their hand while they were given some form of STD diagnosis.

Nothing scares you to insist on a condom like a brochure handed out in dormitories informing you that the city has noticed a recent increase in chlamydia!

So in all honesty, it had been several years since I had really thought about my own sexual health.

Then about a month ago I watched an awesome series on Stan called It’s a sin which focuses on a group of friends whose lives were irrevocably changed by the HIV / AIDS epidemic of the 1980s.

Listen, I’m known for my hypochondriac ways. A simple leg cramp after my Covid vaccine convinced me I had a blood clot, and before you knew it I was Google searching for coffins. So look It’s a sin, not having taken an STD test in quite a while sent my mind into an absolute spiral.

The next morning, I jumped out of bed, strapped my face mask on, and headed to my nearest GP for a full session. He took a blood sample, made me pee in a cup and told me to make an appointment in two days for the results.

“Two days? But I want to know now!” I exclaimed. He rolled his eyes and sent me on my way.

As I mentioned before, I’m the drama queen when it comes to my health, so after 48 hours I was back in the doctors waiting room hyperventilating in my mask. When the doctor called me into his office, I was convinced that I had caught a number of horrible things.

Now, question for the floor: why do doctors take so long to research the results? Can’t they just have them ready to go the moment you walk into the room. Each tick on the clock looked like a million years old. The moment he read all the STDs known to mankind and said “negative for all”, I was struck by a wave of relief.

The poor man looked at me like I was some kind of loonie. “Why did you think you grabbed something? You don’t even have symptoms! he apologized.

Well, dear doctor, because I had gone to the bottom of a hole in Google and it never ends well now, does it!

I walked out of this room feeling like the weight of the world had just been lifted from my shoulders. So when the old one Bachelor Candidate Juliette Herrera mentioned in last week’s podcast that potential baccalaureate candidates were screened for STDs and started if they had one, well… that got me a little excited! Because for a hot second when I thought I had one, my biggest worry was feeling a little dirty.

It made me wonder how many other people have been made to feel this way? And why shouldn’t someone who’s caught an STD try their luck in love (or at least a few thousand new Instagram followers).

So I decided it was time for us to get rid of the stigma surrounding STDs, especially given their prevalence in adults.

Over the next three weeks, my Kind of dating a little podcast will dive deep into the world of STDs. This week I’m chatting with Dr Ginni Mansberg who tests them almost daily, and like I said earlier, I thought I knew everything there was to know about STDs but, oh my gosh, I I made a mistake.

For example, did you know that there is now an anonymous text site that people can use if they have tested positive and are too embarrassed to tell their sex partners. Yeah!

Dr. Ginni also explains which STD symptoms you should never ignore and how many people have had some form of STD. (Spoiler: basically everyone – in fact, you might have one now and have no idea!)

She also explained that STDs do not discriminate. Yes, this banker is just as likely to have an STD as this college student. Fascinating stuff.

Next week I’m chatting with a popular influencer who has been diagnosed with a very common STD, and the next week I’ll find a very popular dating site designed specifically for people who test positive for herpes.

Let’s break the stigma and live with the people of the times! God knows my hyperventilator and google maniacal self can’t handle the stress anymore. Oh yeah, be a sweetheart and wear a condom.

Jana Hocking is a podcaster and collector of boyfriend genres | @jana_hocking

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