Here at BreakupGirl.net, we talk a lot about the challenges of finding love when you are shy, when you have low self-esteem, when you don’t look like society’s ideal single, when you live in a small town, when you’re spinning your wheels in a romance rut. But what about finding — and keeping — love when you know that at some dreaded point, just when things were going so awesome, you’re going to have to say, “There’s something I have to tell you”?
At this point, the news that anyone has a sexually-transmitted infection (STI) should not be a shocker. STIs are, in fact, shockingly common. (At least half of sexually active men and women get HPV at some point in their lives, for example.) Yet matter how “out” people are these days about Asperger’s or therapy or whatever they take to help them sleep, the stigma against STIs — and the 19 million people who have them — remains as virulent and pervasive as the infections themselves. They are, after all, about sex — stereotypically, about casual, anonymous, unprotected sex; about (also stereotypically!) skeevy sores where the sun don’t shine. Just look at the vernacular: people who say they’ve tested negative for STIs commonly call themselves “clean.” Opposite: “dirty.” Carriers of STIs: they’re seen (WRONGLY, let’s be clear) as slutty, stupid, damaged goods. (This despite the facts: you can, of course, get infected from your first and only partner; condoms may not provide 100% protection.)
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a place, a magical place, where people with STIs never had to have The Talk? Where they could make friends — even find lovers — knowing that no one would judge them, never mind dump them, over a stroke of bum luck and the occasional cold sore?