I AM NOT MY STD!

This post is solely to raise awareness and not to bash anyone or call for anyone's opinion. This post is very personal to me and I would like for people to remain respectful and keep an open mind. This was my experience and everyone's will not be the same. No one influenced me to post this. This has actually been a post I've been debating on for a while. I was scared, but I'm willing to take a risk personally and professionally. 

Now, let's get into what an STD is... 

Sexually Transmitted Diseases are infections that can be transmitted through sexual contact with an infected individual. STDs can be transmitted during vaginal or other types of sexual intercourse including oral and anal sex. (Google)

IMG_0703.JPG

Below is my story. 

Last year, I turned twenty-one, which meant that I couldn't go to my pediatrician anymore. So, I had to find a new doctor, which can sometimes be an extremely long and hard process. It definitely was for me. My aunt, who is a doctor, recommended me to a doctor who was near my house. I finally got an appointment after many months. By the way, it takes months to get an appointment with a new doctor. I went in to get a physical only to find out weeks later that I have genital herpes. I asked to be tested again, to find out that I did, in fact, have HSV-2. My life literally changed that day. It felt like my world just shattered. I always got tested for STD's from my pediatrician, so I was in shock. She put me on Valaciclovir, which is most commonly known as Valtrex. She didn't explain anything about the STD, she just told me to basically take one pill a day for the rest of my life, especially in the summer. When I went back to get tested again, her nurse told me that there is no way to find out where it came from. I then went to my gynecologist who asked me why I was taking the medicine and I told him what my doctor said and he basically agreed. He didn't look deeper into it. I didn't like my doctor for professional and personal reasons, so, I went to my mother's primary care doctor. I told her the medicine I was taking and she asked why was I on the medication and I told her that my doctor told me I had HSV-2, which means Herpes Simplex Virus 2 and is another name for genital herpes. Then, she proceeds to ask me did I have a breakout when she told me, I said "no." She asked had I ever had a breakout and I said, "not that I know of." She told me that the first breakout is the worst, so if I didn't recall then I must've not had one yet. She then says that there was no reason for me to be on the medication that I had now been taking for more than six months now. I received results from blood work, but a culture from the breakout is more in-depth. Yes, HSV-2 is in my blood but without a breakout I shouldn't take the medicine, which could possibly harm my body in the long run.  I finally got the information that my first doctor should have told me. That day I learned that my STD is very common to the point where most people don't know that they have it and if they do know most of the time they don't care because it is so common. She also told me that the only way I needed to start taking medicine is when I have a breakout or begin to have sex again because the medicine only lessens the symptoms because the STD is not curable. 

IMG_0704 2.jpg

Here are the simple facts about genital herpes. After reading this, let's discuss. 

Okay, so, I know that the website linked above states that a positive herpes test cannot tell you when and where you contracted the virus but, my doctor and I had a detailed conversation and she told me that there is a way for me either have an idea and/or know and not everything on the Internet is true. (Basically, the lowest amount of sex partners a person has had the better. Especially in the time frame of each test taken.) Without spilling too many beans, we figured out who gave it to me. The conversation definitely helped me understand the disease more, how to prevent spreading it, and much more. 

Although, I do know who gave it to me. I chose not to tell that person for my own personal reasons. 

It is typically illegal, civilly and criminally, to knowingly or recklessly transmit an STD. Telling someone you have an STD is not the same obligation as knowingly transmitting an STD. Specifically, some states have laws that require you to tell certain people if you are HIV-positive. (Google) All other diseases are your choice if you want to tell the person that you think or know you received it from. If you plan to have sex, you should tell your partner, which I have done and will always do if sex may begin to occur. 

I have gotten mixed reactions about my choice, so I decided to let the world know for personal reasons. I may have an STD, but I am not my STD. I'm human and things in life happen. How a person decides to handle their life is their choice. But as a woman, I dealt with my life changes on my own. Yes, I had family and friends to support me, but I chose to mainly cope with it alone. I still till this day deal with criticism and judgment about my STD, but I feel like before opinions are made a person should educate themselves on the topic, place themselves in the other persons shoes, ask questions, and be open-minded because you never know what a person has gone through or is going through. 

I am here to say that having an STD doesn't make you dirty or stupid. It truly just makes you aware because it is life changing and is something you have to live the rest of your life with. I am using this platform to create awareness and let others know that they are not alone. 

 If you are having sex, please be safe and use condoms.