Getting a positive STI test can often feel like a living nightmare.
What will people think? Is it STI curable?
The stigma surrounding STIs is large, to say the least.
“A lot of people think STIs are a death sentence,” said sex educator Tara Jones.
“You are meeting this ‘whore’ stereotype by having an STI, which is not even an indicator of how many people you’ve slept with, that comes with a whole boatload of shame within itself.
STI’s are not a punishment, but that’s the way that society at large can perpetuate it.
STIs a more common than you think
Statistics from Public Health England revealed that a young person is diagnosed with an STI every four minutes.
Good or bad, the statistic shows us that you’re not alone.
“People generally will have either HSV-1, which is cold sores, or HSV-2, which is genital herpes.
“People think that they’re a lot less common and so it feels like something’s wrong with you, or you did something wrong to catch this disease.”
Tara herself suffered from chlamydia when she was 18, but was STI free in no time.
“It was literally the easiest thing to get rid of; just a pill one time,” she said.
“The stigma can be a lot worse, but reminding yourself of that from a health perspective, most of these things are really not as bad as they’re made out to be.”
In terms of progress, people have begun changing the narrative.
People have relabelled safe sex as “safer sex” to show that there is a level of risk with any sexual interaction.
“Often you’re using barrier methods, whatever it may be, about your level of comfort with certain risks.
Don’t panic if you have an STI.
“It’s manageable, it’s treatable. Go to the doctor, do what you need to do, and take your medications.”
Edited by Imogen Bowlt