Friday, May 6, 2011

How to tell someone you have a STD ... or do you?

Posted By on Fri, May 6, 2011 at 2:37 PM

In a world of HIV/AIDS and a resurgence of syphilis, you'd think people would know how to share their status with a potential lover. Sadly, we don't. It's hard to tell someone that you have a STD, especially if you're really into the other person. But it is irresponsible not to do so.

An article from Your Tango, addresses this heart-wrenching decision:

Perhaps the most difficult part about living with an STI like herpes or genital warts is that no matter how safe your sexual activity, there will always remain a risk of transmission. As such, YourTango Expert and relationship counselor Dr. Erica Goodstone urges that, "your only ethical and fair choice is to be open and honest with a partner with whom you want to share sexual intimacy."

Disclosing early is important. "Just don't make it one of the first conversations you have," Veronica Monet cautions. "You don't want to communicate that your STI status is the single most important thing there is to learn about you, because it is not. If you think it is, then you need to readjust your attitude."

There is support locally for individuals with certain STDs; for example, the Charlotte H Club is a group of people who support each other and help raise awareness about herpes.

When a person has a sexually transmitted disease, people don’t rally around them like they do cancer patients. Many people feel guilty and isolated. Pam knows that feeling and she didn’t want others in Charlotte to feel that way. That’s why she started the Charlotte H Club in 2005.

“The group is basically a social and support group for anybody that has been diagnosed with Herpes and HPV,” she said. “About 1 in 4 adults have genital herpes and one in two adults have some strain of the HPV virus.”

Joining the club is private and Pam said the website is password protected. “There is such a social stigma against the viruses.”

When Pam moved to Charlotte from Florida, she created the group because she didn’t know anyone in the area and there was an active group in her hometown.

By word of mouth and Google searches, the group has about 1,000 members. Monthly, Pam said, the members get together for dinner and socials. Of course, all 1,000 members don’t show up.

The Charlotte H club allows people to talk about handling their disease and it gives the members a chance to date. Pam said some members have become more than friends as a result of the group. And members who date someone that doesn’t have herpes or HPV, they get to talk about their fears of telling their potential partner that they have the STD.

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