“The hardest part of having herpes is getting past the social stigma.”

Amanda Berglund for BuzzFeed News

There’s a harmful stigma surrounding sexually transmitted infections, which implies that being diagnosed with one is shameful, embarrassing, or “your fault” based on your sexual history. But the truth is anyone can get an STI, whether they’ve had one partner or 50 partners.

In hopes of breaking down these stereotypes, BuzzFeed Health asked people of all ages, genders, and sexualities to tell us what STI they've been diagnosed with and how it has affected their lives.

Here’s what they said:

"I was visiting a different city for a few days and hooked up with a guy from Grindr. We had some amazing sex and went our separate ways. He messaged me four days later saying he had just been diagnosed with chlamydia, to which I responded something along the lines of, 'No big deal, thanks for letting me know!'
He was kind of surprised that I wasn't mad at him and that I was just grateful that he let me know. After all of this, we were both so happy with how the interaction went down that we've stayed great friends. We always look each other up when we're visiting each other's cities and we've even gone on vacation together once."


"I was a sophomore in college and went out with a guy I met on a dating site, who ended up forcing himself on me in the back of my car. When I confronted him about the symptoms afterward, he got angry and said that he 'should've expected that from me.' I was so ashamed and afraid others would have the same reaction, so I didn't tell anyone.

Two weeks later, as I sat crying in a paper gown over my results that diagnosed me with trichomoniasis, I finally opened up to my doctor. She assured me that a round of medication would clear it up and that in no way should I feel ashamed or dirty. Telling someone, especially someone who had a clear understanding of what was going on with me medically, was a huge relief. And after a round of antibiotics, I was in the clear. Emotionally, the entire situation has taken years to process."


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