It's traumatic to find out you have an STI. You might be angry if you feel you've been betrayed or ashamed if there's a chance you infected others. At worst, an STI can cause chronic illness and death, even with the best care in the world. Between those extremes is a host of other potential losses — trust between partners, plans to have children, and the joyful embrace of your sexuality and its expression.
Here's how you can cope:
Aug. 19, 2014
- Put blame on hold. Don't jump to the conclusion that your partner has been unfaithful to you. One (or both) of you may have been infected by a past partner.
- Be candid with health care workers. Their job is not to judge you, but to stop STIs from spreading. Anything you tell them remains confidential.
- Contact your health department. Although they may not have the staff and funds to offer comprehensive services, local health departments maintain STI programs that provide confidential testing, treatment and partner services.
- Sexually transmitted infections: Overview. Womenshealth.gov. http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/sexually-transmitted-infections.html. Accessed June 15, 2014.
- Overview of sexually transmitted diseases. The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/infectious_diseases/sexually_transmitted_diseases_std/overview_of_sexually_transmitted_diseases.html. Accessed June 23, 2014.
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs110/en/. Accessed June 23, 2014.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed June 21, 2014.
- Markle W, et al. Sexually transmitted diseases. Primary Care: Clinics Office Practice. 2013;40:557.
- Hunter P, et al. Screening and prevention of sexually transmitted infections. Primary Care: Clinics Office Practice. 2014;41:215.
- New guidelines for cervical cancer screening: Patient education fact sheet. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Womens-Health/Cervical-Cancer. Accessed June 21, 2014.
- Swygard H, et al. Screening for sexually transmitted infections. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 21, 2014.
- Hay WW, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Pediatrics. 21st ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookid=497. Accessed June 21, 2014.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2010. MMWR. 2010;59:1. http://www.cdc.gov/sTD/treatment/2010/default.htm. Accessed June 21, 2014.
- Partner services FAQs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/partners/faq-public.html. Accessed June 23, 2014.
- Preexposure prophylaxis for the prevention of HIV infection in the United States — 2014 clinical practice guideline. Atlanta, Ga. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/guidelines/PrEPguidelines2014.pdf?elq=0a349f52dfa74f48ae554056bc0e027e&elqCampaignId=8040. Accessed May 16, 2014.