Although STD Awareness Month has ended, keep in mind that the fight against stigma and the push for more effective treatments and cures is still ongoing.
However, the stigma against sexually transmitted diseases may be slowly going away, with many women now sharing their stories publicly.
For example, 22-year-old Ella Dawson wrote an essay on her herpes diagnosis for Women’s Health Magazine that quickly went viral.
In her essay she discusses how she actually enjoys telling people she has herpes now, as part of her fight against stigma.
“I don’t know what made me decide enough was enough,” Dawson said in the essay. “I didn’t feel like the woman that my friends knew me to be—a bold and outspoken campus badass—but I was sick of making myself small because I had herpes.”
“Six months after my first outbreak, I started dropping the ‘herpes bomb’ into conversations casually,” Dawson added in her essay. “My logic was that every time I told someone, ‘I have herpes,’ the words would get easier to say.”
Liz Crokin, a journalist and author of “Malice,” got herpes from her ex over two years ago, and it actually progressed into herpes meningitis and then meningoencephalitis, a life-threatening condition.
As a result of her ex’s deception in knowingly spreading herpes without telling her, Crokin went public with her story over a year ago.
She ultimately filed a personal injury lawsuit against her ex-boyfriend, Mallory Hill.
“He told me we were in a committed and monogamous relationship and told me he had no STDs,” she said in an email. “When I got ill he continued to tell me he had no STDs.”
But this just wasn't true.“I later found out that he had had herpes for at least two decades and later found out that he had also infected his ex-wife and other women.”
She experienced many emotions and mood issues during that devastating time, including anxiety, depression, frustration, resentment, humiliation, shame, anger and loneliness.
“I have found ... the best way to minimize breakouts is by keeping your stress level minimal,” Crokin said.