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Getting a throat infection or cold sores are often seen as something that most people experience at some point in their lives. However when those infections are lower down, say on someone’s genitals, there’s a tremendous amount of added stigma that seems to come out of nowhere.

Whether you get cold sores on the lips on your face or on your genitals, they’re still just cold sores. A bacterial infection in your throat that is easily treatable with antibiotics isn’t really different from a bacterial infection on your arm or genitals that is also treatable with antibiotics, so why all the stigma?

Today we’re talking with Charisma, a former addict and genital cold sore person about the concept of catching stigma. The real fear for me in contracting any STI is really catching stigma rather than the infection itself.

I know which ones are easily treatable like most Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphillis infections. In fact, those infections only really do damage if they go undetected and untreated so get checked! They may cause pelvic inflammatory disease as well as serious long term permanent consequences if untreated. What’s stopping you getting tested? Is it stigma? 

Consider that you might have contracted them from someone asymptomatic. For some diseases, most infections are without symptoms. For others, many infections are without symptoms. If you’ve never been tested, if you can, go get a read-out that says you’re all negative – unless you’ve literally never had sex.

I also know which ones have vaccines like HPV, the treatment for which is a nearly painless cooling of the skin over the infected areas, stimulating your immune system to naturally take care of the infection itself. The process takes less than two weeks although you may be infectious to others before you see infected areas, during infection of course, and afterwards. Like HSV – that’s herpes simplex or cold sores – any viral infection can be transmitted when you’re asymptomatic.

Even HIV has a treatment these days. What used to be a death sentence is only a real danger if you use a condom and have sex with someone without telling them where you can be convicted in court – thanks to stigma – of crimes like attempted murder – though I should mention these crappy outdated laws are finally being overturned in courts.

The point being the most harmful part of STIs in my opinion are the long term effects and the stigma itself. Stigma also gets in the way of testing, diagnosis, and treatment. So go get tested and get educated about what’s really at stake. Be safe. Try not to get sick. If someone gets sick, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to; you can always say no; however be as supportive as you’d be if they had gotten sick in a non genital way. Just my two cents. Now, let’s hear from Charisma.