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Health and Sanity

Valentina Nicolae
Journalist
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piqer: Valentina Nicolae
Friday, 29 March 2019

We Need To Talk About STIs

Death, Sex & Money is a show about those things that we spend a lot of time thinking about, but don’t actually talk about all that much, although we should. This includes infidelity, mental illness, divorce, etc.

This one episode is about sexually transmitted diseases and all the emotional and psychological work that is put into living with such a disease and having to tell partners about it. There’s a huge amount of stigma surrounding sexually transmitted infections (STIs), even though they are very common. In the US, for instance, 1 in 8 people has genital herpes, 40% of adults have HPV, and rates of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia are on the rise.

A few listeners express the mix of emotions that washed over them as they found out they have an STI:

“Whenever I get an outbreak [of herpes] I'm reminded of that I could have not gotten it if I had chosen not to continue with him or never start with him. I feel bad about myself as a decision-maker every time.”
“Finding out I had HPV brought up a lot of stuff that I hadn’t realized was still there.”
“There was a lot of shame and a lot of, well, you're untouchable, you're unlovable.”
“Would they think I was a slut? Would they think I was dirty? Would they think I was just dumb?”

Make sure to check out this episode’s STI reading list too. It has a great VICE article about why public health officials only encourage women and gay men to get tested for STIs regularly, a series of videos from Planned Parenthood about safe sex, and a Dan Savage podcast about herpes and HPV. 

We Need To Talk About STIs
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