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Let's Talk About Sex(ually Transmitted Diseases)

Illustration for article titled Lets Talk About Sex(ually Transmitted Diseases)

I feel like I'm constantly talking about the STDs I have/had, to the point that I'm pretty sure my friends are sick of hearing about it and I'm paranoid that people I first meet (who might know about it, thanks to the internet) give me weird looks when I sit on their furniture. And even though I'm burdened with forever being identified with this onetime blemish outbreak on my vagina (that's really all herpes is, BTW) that happened three years ago, I think it's important to talk about, so I'll continue to do so. However, it would be way easier on me if you all would share your STD stories. (You're all anonymous anyway!) Anyway, I'll get the party started, by going in depth - literally and figuratively!

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Assuming that UTIs don't count as STDs (even though it's very similar to Chlamydia, since it's just bacteria, right?), my first STD was the herp. God only knows who I caught it from, but I'm pretty sure it was from one of three bartenders from the same bar I was sleeping with at the time. But it also could've been this dude from this band. Or this 22-year-old unemployed skater dude. Or this other unemployed dude who was a friend of a friend. (I know how to pick 'em!) Anyway, I felt a burning when I peed, which wasn't particularly out of the ordinary, especially for back then, when I was seemingly always recovering from chronic UTIs. I ignored it. Then I noticed this like pimple-y blister thing on my right lip. I was like, FUCK, but, heavily in denial, insisting that it might just be an ingrown hair. But when I was reduced to putting homemade ice packs on my vadge to soothe it and unable to sleep through the night because of the pain, I decided to face my fears and looked at my vadge with a hand mirror. The whole thing was inflamed. I made an emergency appointment to see my gyno, who gave me some Zovorax cream, Valtrex (just a week's worth, never do that one-a-day shit 'cause it'll kill your immune system), and some Ambien.

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My second STD was Chlamydia. Boring, and easily treatable. Happened about three months after the herp. Then two weeks after that, I got a call from the dude that gave me Chlamydia, to tell me that he had gonorrhea, aka "the clap", aka "the drip." I'd decided that I must've dodged that bullet, but about eight hours after receiving that call, I was squatting over a public toilet and felt something fall out of me and heard a loud thud. I looked down and saw this big, clumpy brownish/yellowish creamy thing on the toilet seat. I called my doctor the next morning and she gave me 500 mg of Cipro and that shit went away right quick. (Seriously, if you're going to get an STD, pray that it's gonorrhea.) Anyway, I took it in stride. I'd already popped my STD cherry with herpes, so everything after that was no biggie. I even made up songs about gonorrhea to the tune of "Make It Clap" by Busta Rhymes featuring Sean John, changing the words to "I got the clap!" And then also, I changed the words of "Da' Dip" by Freak Nasty to "I put my hand up on your hip, when I drip, you drip, we drip."

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DISCUSSION

Hmmmmmm. Where do I start?

First experience: 19 with burning pee and "yeast" infection that wasn't clearing up. Went to PP — they said go to a urologist. Urologist said it was chlamydia — boyfriend and I were both treated. Still had problems, so went to a real OB/Gyn. First colposcopy and cryo, problem solved ...?

Second experience: 21, out of horrible relationship and involved with hot younger guy who fancied himself a "Rico Suave" type. Nailed him in back of a used car lot in Gary. Five days later, discomfort on my left lip; thought it was my panty hose pinching me funny. Examining the area showed nothing but slight swelling. Seemed to get worse the next day, so trotted off to PP. Nurse says: "Have you ever had herpes?" NO! I said. There's no blisters down there! I said. "Oh yeah?" she said and then pointed the mirror at my parts. Giant blister on the left lip. Walked out with Zovirax and a complex. Couple kickers to this: The night I had to tell Rico (aka "The Human Petri Dish"), he was going with me to review — wait for it — "Miss Evers' Boys," the play about the Tuskegee Incident. And when I told him, he was more concerned that I had found out he got another girl pregnant. Also wanted to nail me again.

Third incident: 23 and hadn't learned my lesson with the Human Petri Dish yet, so nailed him again. Ended up with the foulest smelling parts ever and was given metronidazole(sp?). Never found out what the infection was but was pissed because the medicine made me ill.

Fourth incident: 28 and convinced after reading a Women's Day article about vulvar cancer that I had same. Went to OB/Gyn, who chuckled at my hypochondria but ran my Pap anyway because I was due. Came back funny. Retested in three months; because of my history (see incident 1) ran a colposcopy. Results still not quite right, so did a LEEP. Came back in for the results a week later — Doc says, "This is why I tell women never to put off having the LEEP when I tell them: Had we waited one more month, you'd have had Stage 1 cervical cancer." Cause? HPV. Had hemorrhage because I thought I'd gotten it from latest boyfriend when doc says no, could've gotten it from anyone.

I appear to have remained clean since.