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STDs are common, but the stigma shouldn’t be.

STDs are common, but the stigma shouldn’t be.

Breaking the stigmas about common  STDs and women’s health

Hey there, welcome to Nurse’s Corner at ThriVe+. I’m a nurse on our team. One of the reasons so many women choose ThriVe+ is because we offer no-cost testing for common STDs. Why should you get tested? What if someone might judge you? Don’t worry — you’re in a safe place.

​No Shame Zone

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of unnecessary shame and judgment associated with STDs — but there shouldn’t be! Having an STD doesn’t define you or your worth. Sometimes things happen beyond our control. But the important thing is choosing to think about the future.

Some people may also feel a certain stigma about  STD testing (also called STI testing) — as if it’s something to be ashamed of. The truth is, it’s brave to protect yourself and others by getting tested and treated. Many STIs don’t show any symptoms, but can still be passed to other people. It takes strength to prioritize your health, even if you’re nervous. So, if you ever find yourself feeling hesitant or worried about judgment, remember this — you are in control, and taking charge of your health is a powerful decision.

Some STDs are very easy to treat and cure. Others might need more complicated treatment to manage. But getting tested and treated is an important part of living a healthy life.. We shouldn’t let society’s misconceptions decide how we view ourselves or others. Let’s focus on supporting each other and changing the way we talk about common STDs.

Mayo Clinic, Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Symptoms

Getting tested is not a sign of weakness— it’s smart to take care of yourself. You’re being proactive about your health! That’s commendable. Remember, we all deserve respect, especially when it comes to our health.

ThriVe+ is here to provide a supportive environment for testing and treatment with no judgment. We understand confidentiality and respect. We care that you feel comfortable every step of the way.

We’re women. We make decisions to prioritize our well-being. No shame. We’re taking control of our health. Together, let’s break the stigma surrounding STIs.

What are the most common STDs?

Well, they are infections that can be passed from one person to another through intimate contact. The only way to totally avoid any exposure to STDs is to delay sex until you’re in a committed, monogamous relationship. There are several STDs, and it’s good to know about them to protect ourselves and our partners.

1. Chlamydia:

   – Symptoms: Often none, but can include pain during urination and unusual discharge.

   – Health risks: Untreated chlamydia can lead to serious complications like infertility and PID (pelvic inflammatory disease).

2. Gonorrhea:

   – Symptoms: Painful urination and discharge.

   – Health risks: If not treated, it can lead to infertility and other complications.

3. HPV (Human Papillomavirus):

   – Symptoms: Often none, but sometimes itching, discomfort, or bleeding during sex..

   – Health risks: Certain strains can cause cervical cancer in women.

4. Herpes:

   – Symptoms: Sometimes Herpes doesn’t cause symptoms. Other times, you can develop itchy or painful sores or blisters. 

   – Health risks: Herpes is one of the most common STDs and can cause discomfort and outbreaks.

5. Syphilis:

   – Symptoms: Sores, rashes, and flue-like symptoms like fever, fatigue, discomfort and aching. 

   – Health risks: If untreated, it can cause serious damage to internal organs, blindness, paralysis, dementia — and even death. But it’s simple to cure with the right treatment. .

6. Trichomoniasis:

   – Symptoms: Sometimes Trichomoniasis doesn’t cause any symptoms. Other times, Itching, painful urination, and discharge can occur.

   – Health risks: Can increase the risk of getting or spreading other STDs.

7. HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus):

   – Symptoms: Flu-like symptoms initially, but can progress to more severe conditions.

   – Health risks: Weakens the immune system, making the body vulnerable to other infections.

Mayo Clinic, Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Symptoms

CDC, STD Diseases and Related Conditions

CDC, Trichomoniasis

Now, the good news is that getting tested for common STDs is simple. Most tests involve a urine, blood, or swab sample. It’s a convenient process, and the results are confidential. It’s important to remember that STI testing isn’t about judgment – it’s about making sure we’re healthy and safe.

If you’re pregnant, getting tested is a must. Your health could be at risk if you have an STI. Regardless of your decision about the pregnancy, knowing your STD status is vital.

I wanted to let you know that at ThriVe+, you can get tested and receive the care and info you need. We offer testing for multiple STDs. While we can’t guarantee every center will provide the same services, we’re there to help you take charge of your health without fear of judgment.

Why does this matter for women’s health? 

These common STDs can specifically affect women, both emotionally and in terms of the reproductive system.

1. Emotional Impact:

   STIs can take a toll on our emotional well-being. The stigma we discussed earlier often adds an extra layer of stress. Remember that having an STI doesn’t define you. There’s no reason to carry unnecessary shame. Many women are surprised when they find out they have one of the common STDs, and it may bring unpleasant discussions to the surface in a relationship. Reach out to supportive friends, family, or professionals if you need someone to talk to. You are not alone.

2. Reproductive System:

   – Chlamydia and Gonorrhea: If left untreated, these infections can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can cause long-term damage to the reproductive organs. It can lead to long-term pain, infertility or a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy.

   – HPV: Certain strains of HPV can cause cervical and other cancers. Regular screenings and early detection are essential for preventing serious consequences.

   – Herpes: This common STD can cause painful sores, and can cause problems in pregnancy if untreated. 

   – Syphilis: If untreated, syphilis can affect the brain and nervous system, and lead to blindness, hearing loss, and even death. In pregnancy, it can cause problems for both mother and baby.

   – Trichomoniasis: This infection can make sex feel unpleasant, and can last for years if untreated. Trichomoniasis can make it easier to contract other STIs. In pregnancy, it can cause preterm birth and low birth weight.

   – HIV: While not exclusive to women, HIV can affect the immune system, impacting overall health and potentially affecting the ability to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy.

CDC, Gonorrhea

CDC, Chlamydia

 CDC, Herpes

CDC, Syphilis

CDC, Trichomoniasis

Understand the potential impact on reproductive health. Get tested early. Detecting and managing these infections early can significantly reduce the risk of complications. We want you to be healthy and happy.

You’ve got support. ThriVe+ is here to offer testing, treatment, and a safe space for information.

Healthy • Safe • Strong

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