The last thing anyone wants to talk about when dating someone new and the first thing everyone should talk about before going to bed with someone: STDs.

Quick, run for the hills, this post is going to be dicey! STDs are scary, I know; I’ve lived with one for 14 years. And, I’m young (or, at least I like to think I’m still young – don’t we all? – I’m 29). At any rate, STDs are no laughing matter. Albeit, the only time we really hear about them is in the media being portrayed as a just that: a laughing matter.

The media does a fantastic job of highlighting the fears we all face about contracting an STD – they predicate the stigma – yet, they do little else. They do not talk about the sheer number of people contracting an STD annually and living with an STD, they do not explain that many STDs are curable and the ones that are not curable are usually quite manageable, and they lead us to believe that people who have STDs are dirty, damaged-goods, or whores. I say us, because, even though I’ve learned to live with my STD, I don’t want to acquire another if I can help it and there was a time I also believed those things. Nevertheless, it’s important I tell you this (and for those of you already living with an STD – there are many of you, I know – this will give you hope): I have never been rejected as a result of my STD, an STD has not stopped me from achieving my goals, and if anything, an STD has made me a more open-minded, educated, and conscientious individual. Read the rest here