This is by far one of the most personal articles I will ever share on Happily Ever After. It’s a topic I’m plenty qualified to discuss because… I have suffered from not only one, but two STDs and I’m here to share my story. If you are or have ever been in the same boat, I’m hoping I can give you a little insight into the world of sexually transmitted diseases and relationships.
About a week before I started dating my boyfriend I went in for my yearly pap smear, or “lady check up” as we call it. For those of you who don’t know, most insurance covers a chlamydia and gonorrhea test for all women because the two diseases have become extremely common in the US. I’ve been tested during every appointment and I’ve never even had a pap smear come back with weird results. I’ve always been sexually healthy.
But… here’s the kicker; before I met my current boyfriend I had an on/off fling with another guy. Then, skip ahead… My boyfriend and I were on our THIRD day of officially dating when the doctor called me while I was at work. She broke the news to me that I had tested positive for chlamydia. My heart raced, I got lightheaded, and my stomach dropped. Not only was I scared because I managed to catch an STD, but my brand new boyfriend had obviously caught it too.
FACT: chlamydia is not deadly and can be completely cleared up with a proper antibiotic provided by your doctor. Click HERE for more info on chlamydia.
I told my boyfriend IMMEDIATELY and while he was very afraid, he knew that I had absolutely no idea I suffered from the disease before having sex with him. We went to get him tested that day and needless to say, I had passed it onto him as well. We were both treated and cleared and able to move on with our relationship.
Now, skip ahead to about two or three weeks later after. I completed a full STD board which tests for several diseases to be sure I didn’t catch anything else. Well, another phone call came from the doctor. In addition to passing on chlamydia, my previous fling had also passed on genital herpes.
FACT: genital herpes is NOT curable, but it is also not deadly or harmful. Click HERE for more info on genital herpes.
That now meant one more speed bump in our fresh, new relationship. Again, I told my boyfriend immediately. After knowing that this was something that was incurable, it shook us both. But, genital herpes is not always transmittable. Some people are more susceptible to it than others. My boyfriend has yet to show any signs, but many people who have contracted it never do.
My boyfriend and I are extremely committed to each other and plan to spend the rest of our lives with each other so after a lot of discussion, he opted to not be tested. Either he has it or he doesn’t and if he does, there is absolutely nothing he can do about it so therefore, he made the decision to move on and stick by my side.
Now that you know my story, here are a few pieces of advice if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.
Tell your partner immediately in private
If you are the one who received the phone call, tell your partner as soon as possible, but that doesn’t mean you should whisper it in their ear while you’re out to a dinner party. As soon as you are alone and the time is appropriate, share the news very calmly with your partner.
Give them the facts
Hearing this news can be absolutely terrifying, especially if you’re not familiar with the dangers of STDs. Share all the facts with your partner that your doctor gave you so they can be informed about your health and their own.
Discuss how you got it/where it came from
My boyfriend knew about my past long before we were dating so it came as no surprise where the contraction came from, but we still discussed it. We made sure to communicate about it so we were both on the same page. I was very open and honest with him so he still knew that I could be trusted. Obviously this was definitely NOT due to unfaithfulness which will certainly involve some different advice.
Do NOT judge
If your partner is the one sharing the news with you, the last thing they need is your judgement. I would have understood 100% if my boyfriend had been even more upset or angry than he was. While he was visibly upset, he never made me feel judged. When I broke the news to him I cried hysterically out of guilt and shame over my past, but instead of shoving it in my face, he held me close (while still very shaken up and confused) and reassured me that he loved me regardless. He never once made me feel unloved, embarrassed, or disgusting. While I felt these emotions towards myself, he turned them around for me. Your partner needs your support at a time like this, not to be made to feel ashamed of their past.
Full board STD testing for both
Once you have both comprehended the situation you should both have full STD testing completed and receive the proper treatments for any disease(s) you may have contracted.
Discuss the future
Lastly, discuss the future with your partner. Whether you are the one who gave or received the STD, this will be the most dreaded conversation because you’re not sure where it might lead. Some may not be as understanding about the situation, while others will support you no matter what. It’s important to make sure you’re both on the same page before moving on.
I was very fortunate in my situation and leaving never once crossed my boyfriend’s mind. He stood by my side during both situations and remains by my side till this day. While he has never shown a sign of genital herpes, I do have breakouts on occasion and even get blisters on other parts of my body. (Thankfully I can easily hide them.) During these times when I begin to let my past bring my insecurities and humiliation to the surface, he is right there to hold my hand, kiss my head, and reassure me of his love and commitment.
Have you or your partner ever suffered from an STD? How did you move past it?