Unfortunately, talking about issues pertaining to sex and sexuality is often easier said than done, especially when attempting to do so with important people in our lives.
Post Submitted by the National Alliance Of State & Territorial Aids Directors (NASTAD)
In the spring of 2016, Connecticut College hosted TEDx Talks, and one of the speakers, Ella Dawson, delivered a speech of epic proportions. In her TEDx Talk, Ella discussed her experiences living with genital herpes.
In her speech, Ella said one of the worst aspects of living with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) is the stigma she faces. To help combat that stigma, Ella decided long ago that she would be intentionally vocal about her STD status as a way to invite open and honest conversations about what it means to be a person living with an easily treatable but widely misunderstood STD.
Unfortunately, talking about issues pertaining to sex and sexuality is often easier said than done, especially when attempting to do so with important people in our lives. Talking about STDs to your sexual partners and your healthcare provider is critical to maintaining good sexual health. Check out the list below for suggestions on how to make these conversations a little less awkward and a lot more empowering:
With Sexual Partners:
With Healthcare Providers:
While these tips will help you get started talking about STDs, do keep in mind that no two conversations will likely be the same. Be flexible, and if you can, try to keep it light-hearted! Tense or serious conversations rarely benefit anyone. Ella’s more vocal approach may or may not be your cup of tea, but even so, we could all benefit from having more conversations about these extremely common medical conditions.
Marcel Byrd is the Racial and Gender Justice Fellow at NASTAD. Blake Rowley is Senior Manager for Health Equity.
Additional Resources from NASTAD:
This post is not a substitute for sound medical advice — and the examples throughout it don’t cover every situation! We encourage you to seek out additional resources from other community advocates and, most importantly, talk to a knowledgeable healthcare provider before making any medical decisions.