Cards On The Table: Normalizing The Conversation Around STIs
Chances are, if you are a living, breathing human, sex is a big part of your life. When we’re not having it, reading about it, sexting or watching it, we’re talking about it openly, which is a good thing. The exception to that healthy, open dialog? The STIs, or sexually transmitted infections, that can commonly stem from sexual encounters, even safe ones.
The stigma around those conversations is in many cases worse than the STIs themselves, leaving people feeling ashamed and alone. Considering that the latest numbers from the WHO (World Health Organization) show over 1 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections occurring around the world every day – yes, each day - it’s probably time to normalize the STI conversation. Let’s put the shame to bed.
if you are sexually active, even if you are/even when using protection, you can catch one. Penetrative sex is only one way they are spread - oral serves as a conduit, skin to skin contact, too, even kissing. The most common STIs are chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, syphilis and genital herpes. And some, like chlamydia and herpes, often have ‘silent’ symptoms, or none at all. Considering how prevalent STIs are in the world – we are talking about billions of people – we should be make talking about them stigma-free and easy. Nobody cringes when telling people “I caught a cold.” Many STIs are completely treatable. Those that aren’t can be managed. Let’s all work together so that having convos conversations about STIs and other sexual health issues feels natural rather than weird or judgy.
It might take a little time. But permission to make talking about STIs as easy as talking about what you had for dinner right this way. We will all be healthier for it, mentally and sexually. OR mentally and physically.
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