As an OB-Gyn physician one of the most frequent difficult discussions I have with women is about STDs – sexually transmitted diseases. You can find lots of information about STDs from many sources – your doctor, school sex education, medical or health websites, etc. You can see pictures of the physical effects, read about the symptoms, and find out what treatments are available. But almost nobody talks about the emotional weight of having an STD.
Within just the last few weeks I’ve heard from women carrying an enormous load:
- The young wife who thought she had escaped getting the herpes her husband has, but just tested positive and can’t get rid of the “dirty” feeling
- The young mother wondering if there will ever be an end to the procedures she will need for the HPV (human papilloma virus) on her cervix
- The recent divorcee whose ex-husband is telling everyone about the herpes she developed prior to their marriage decades ago
- The recently retired wife still holding the hurt of a chlamydia infection years ago, knowing SHE had never gone outside her marriage for sex