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January 13, 2007

Every STD Has a Silver Lining

This is a very personal story that I'm willing to tell you all, mostly because you don't know who I really am, but also because I'm not the first person who this has happened to and I know I won't be the last.

Once upon a time, my gynecologist called me to tell me that my pap smear was normal, my vaginal culture was normal, but my STD screening was... positive for Chlamydia. Yes. Chlamydia. The Clap. VD. I’d been officially tainted. I was now a dirty tramp. Of course, I was already a dirty tramp… but now it was official. It was documented. It had been medically proven.

My doctor told me that they had been having "quite a few" false positives lately, since it was a general screening for all the main STDs and not specific to Chlamydia.

I was given two options:

A). Take the results at face value and get antibiotics to treat it.

B). Come back in for a urine test specifically for Chlamydia.

I chose option C.

C). Have a panic attack and freak out.
I was bugging out that I might actually have my very first big girl grownup sexually transmitted disease and even worse, that I might actually have to discuss this with my recent sexual partners. I eventually decided "better safe than sorry" and chose option D.

D). All of the above.

I called my most recent sexual partner first and we both came to the immediate conclusion that I was likely the “giver” and not the “recipient” (if you can consider Chlamydia to be some special evil kind of "gift". No returns without a receipt). It was a safe assumption to make; just a numbers game really and we were playing the odds. I was the dirty tramp in that relationship and we both knew it. After a little bit of initial anger, he realized that I did not put him at risk on purpose. Although I admit the term “possible false positive” was used more than once in that conversation.

“I guess this is the closest I’ll ever get to receiving a round of applause after sex”, he finally said. It took me about an hour to realize that meant being given the “clap.” Groan. I decided to wait for the actual results before telling anyone else.

We didn’t know of any other doctors in the area who specialized in "infections of the naughty bits", so we decided to go to my doctor to get urine tested together. Yes, I brought a date to the gynecologist. A boy’s first visit to the gynecologist is an important milestone; it’s right up there with shopping for his first training bra. Sadly, peeing in cups together was not the least romantic date we’d been on before.

While standing around the office holding a cup of my own piss, I chatted with one of the lab techs. (I’m nothing if not sociable. How do you think I got Chlamydia in the first place?)

“So how common are these false positives really? Was the doctor just trying to make me feel better, like I’m not a dirty tramp?”

“Lately we’ve been getting a lot of false positives.”

“Like, a lot lot?”

“A lot”.


I know most of you reading right now are probably thinking “isn’t you being a dirty tramp already a given?” or “aren’t you still a dirty tramp regardless of the test results?” I was thinking the same thing. Honestly, I’m still little surprised that this was my first STD scare. There have been many "errors of judgment" in my past and while I’d like to think I’ve smartened up since then, I'm still surprised at how long I’d gotten away with it all.

As I stood there holding a cup of my own piss, a lot of messed up things were going on in my head. I actually recall thinking “I’m going to be really mad if I went through all this stress for nothing. That test better be positive!” Ah, that's some logic there.

That evening I took 1,000 mg of azithromycin in the form of two giant horse pills. It was like swallowing two down pillows. I also canceled my date for the weekend, just in case. “I can’t tonight honey, I might have a little bit of Chlamydia”.

A few days later my doctor called again.

“The results were positive. Both of them”.

I not only had Chlamydia, but I gave it to someone else. I’m a giver!

I went down my list of other sexual partners since the last negative STD test I could remember having. I told one guy via Instant Messenger, because I had promised myself long ago that I would never call him again. He claimed that he was tested right before me and insisted that he definitely didn’t give it to me. I totally didn’t believe him about having been recently tested, but the odds still were that I was the dirty tramp, not him.

Let me tell you one thing, if you have never had to do this (inform people that they should get tested for something) I will let you know that it is about as much fun as it seems. No fun at all. I swear, my last pap smear was more pleasant than having to break this kind of news to people. I don’t know how gynecologists handle telling people stuff like this every day. Although maybe they don’t have to do it every day, just on the days that the dirty tramps get tested.

The last guy I spoke to was the most understanding, albeit a tad melodramatic. If I had to guess, out of all of them he was the one most likely to have had Chlamydia in the first place. I’m not calling him a dirty tramp or anything (although really, he has to be somewhat of a dirty tramp or he wouldn’t have slept with me in the first place). Again, it’s just the odds. Of the rest of the guys, he was the most likely to have… had sex… with women... ever. So I guess in a way, I’m complimenting him by saying that I thought he gave me Chlamydia.

Only the catch is: I was wrong.

Every guy on that list, including him, got back to me to tell me that they had tested negative. Of course, I have a few good reasons to believe that at least one of them was lying. The main reason being that I didn’t get Chlamydia from thin air. Someone had to have given it to me. (Unless it was some kind of Immaculate Chlamydia and I got it from God).

Another reason was that I don’t necessarily trust anyone to tell me the truth about anything, let alone a current STD test. Well I don't trust any of them but one...

So things had come full circle and I was brought right back to guy #1, my pee buddy, my "recipient", my… oh shit did he give me Chlamydia!? Slap my butt, no way!

Now I guess I didn’t mention this before, but he was more than just my most recent sexual partner. He was my most frequent sexual partner and for quite a while there (we’re talking almost two years) he was my only sexual partner. And vice versa. The word we're looking for here is "boyfriend". Correction: "ex-boyfriend". (I don't even want to get into the fact that I was still sleeping with my ex-boyfriend, okay. I know. But really, who hasn't done that?) Of every guy I’ve ever dated or slept with – ever – I trust him more than anyone. So I believed him when he said he hadn’t slept with anyone else in… a long time. So my choice of conclusions were:

A). He was lying to me all along.

B). One of the other guys was lying.

C). He had Chlamydia for years and honestly never knew it.

D). My last negative STD test was a false negative, therefore I had Chlamydia for years and honestly never knew it.

E). I got Chlamydia from some encounter that I can’t even recall.

I could have sworn I was tested before (or at least during) our time together, but maybe I’m mistaken. I honestly don’t know for sure if my last test was before or after we decided to become exclusive (we were "together" and then "exclusive" and then "boyfriend-girlfriend" so the dates are a little fuzzy). He hadn’t been tested in years, but he also hadn’t had much sex in years except for me. Unless... he was lying to me all along.

I was left believing option B or C because I honestly couldn't wrap my head around option A. It seemed even less likely than option E. Of course there was still the possibility of an option F.

F). It was God’s Chlamydia.

Although I guess that would also have made option E true after all, since I couldn’t remember having sex with God recently. I mean, there was that one time in college when we were both drunk and experimenting… but I swear, other than that God and I have always been just friends!

In lieu of an angel coming down to tell me what God had intended me to do with his sacred Chlamydia, I decided to just leave it at “who knows?” and move on. I was happy. I had been pretty lucky here. Or at least as lucky as any dirty tramp with an STD can be.

Of all the STDs out there, Chlamydia is actually the safest one to get. Okay that kind of sounds like an oxymoron… “safe STD”. What I mean is that it’s not permanent like Herpes, it won’t potentially give me cancer like HPV, it won’t shut down my immune system like HIV… there were no disgusting sores or discharge or pain or anything. Even the treatment was simple: two pills down the hatch and I was done.

Obviously, there are long term effects of Chlamydia that are not-so-nice, but I’m not going to discuss those right now because I don’t want to vomit on my computer screen nor do I want to dwell on something that might have happened but didn’t. So I was feeling good. Or at least as good as a dirty tramp with an STD could feel.

That was when I got the emails. Remember that really understanding guy who was a tad melodramatic? Did I say “a tad”? Apparently after his clean bill of health he felt the need to wax poetic about his near brush with death. I’m not going to quote the entire epic saga he wrote to me because well, I don’t think this website has enough bandwidth to handle it. So I’ve just selected a few long-winded, preachy key phrases that will help you get the point:

I hope you and I have both learned a lesson here – I know I have – that in this day and age sex should always be protected. It’s just too risky. The fact that you and I had unprotected sex was certainly something of an anomaly for me – I just don’t go around doing that kind of thing usually.

He then goes on to say how he had unprotected sex with three people that year. So I guess it’s not that much of an anomaly. In fact, it was more times that I had done it that year. I also didn’t love the implication that having unprotected sex is something that I do usually do. Dirty tramp or not, unsafe sex was somewhat of an anomaly for me as well. I won’t pretend that I haven’t made mistakes in the past, but the odds are pretty high that I got Chlamydia from “safe sex” after all (although in hindsight, I guess it wasn’t quite as safe as we thought after all). I made it a point to contact everyone I had had sexual-interactions with, not just those with whom I had accidental unprotected intercourse. (I like to use the term "accidental" when referring to sex. As if it just fell in. "Ooops!")

I hope everyone is now privy to the same facts that you and I now are – that this shit is for real and it isn’t a fucking joke, and that you can have sex and have fun without playing roulette at the same time. Let’s hope no one else in our circle of friends has to go through this kind of scare.

It was as though he had stepped straight out of an after-school special. ("You were lucky this time Johnny, but have unsafe sex again and your penis will fall off and you'll die!") How serious a scare did he really have? He might have had the early stages of an asymptomatic disease that was easily treatable. Obviously it’s something to be upset about and you can never learn that "use a condom" lesson too many times, but let’s not blow this out of proportion either. He makes it seem as though he went through a terrible ordeal. All he had to do was in pee in a cup for chrissake, he didn't even have to take the horse pills.

So basically after all the time I spent beating myself up over whether or not this made me a dirty tramp, he inadvertently made me feel... like a dirty tramp. Okay, maybe he wasn’t that harsh, but the condescending point was taken. This was supposed to be my very important lesson. (He also spelled my name wrong at some point, so now he's dead to me anyway).

My lesson: Always use a condom. This time I was lucky, but next time I might not be. I get that. Although here’s the thing… if I do the math, it’s more likely that I got Chlamydia from protected sex. My past is filled with way too many examples of not being safe, but I always ended up STD-free in the end. I finally start to do the safe, responsible thing and I get Chlamydia. It’s kind of a backward way for me to learn my lesson don’t you think?

Maybe the lesson is that I shouldn’t trust certain people, but I have enough trust issues as it is so I'm not too keen on that lesson. There has to be some silver lining. Maybe this was just the universe forcing me to stop having sex with these certain people. Because there is no way to still feel sexy around someone once you’ve had the “you need to get tested” talk with him or her.

Right now everyone out there is probably rolling their eyes at me. How immature and irresponsible! If you can't talk about sex with your partner, then you shouldn't be having sex with him! Look, I'm not a complete moron. I understand the importance of discussing your STD-status with current or potential sexual partners. Everyone should have that "when was your last STD test?" conversation before jumping into the sack. It's the "I've been tested and I have _______ and you might have it too" conversation that sucks. It is definitely an anti-aphrodisiac.

So maybe I needed to discuss Chlamydia with these guys, so I’d be able to avoid sleeping with them in the future. It seems a little excessive just to get me to show a little discretion, but whatever works.

In the end, I think the real lesson I learned was that this doesn't make me a dirty tramp. (Don't worry, I did learn the "use a condom" lesson too). Of course, I'm still most definitely a dirty tramp... but not because of a silly accidental STD. I'm a dirty tramp for totally different reasons. I've learned that STDs happen. They just do. An estimated 2.8 million Americans are infected with Chlamydia each year
. It could happen to anyone, so it doesn't make me a bad person.

I'm a bad person for totally different reasons.

Epilogue: Ever since I had my "brush with Chlamydia" (as Mr. Melodramatic would likely put it) I've been enjoying my negative-status. Writing this story has gotten me thinking about the stigmas of STDs and I think Chlamydia has gotten a bad rap. So the evil sluts and I have been brainstorming on some Chlamydia marketing strategies. Not promoting Chlamydia but just promoting discussion about STDs in general. What do you think of any of these for a t-shirt or bumper sticker?

To purchase "Now 100% More Chlamydia Free!" items Click Here

To purchase "Got Chlamydia?" items Click Here

Okay so maybe it's not a great idea after all.


Anonymous said...

I've been through a similiar situation and know the exact feeling. Only, I was the one that recieved the gift of the Clap. (I personally am a fan of that term over Chlamydia. Sounds so.. filthy..) I was sleeping with a co-worker, and one night he was talking with me, then took a deep breath and said "We gotta talk." Ok... never a good sign, right? So I'm thinking he's probably got a new girlfriend and no time for flings and no-strangs attatched. Fiiiine, fine. But, oh.. was I wrong. He said "I have AIDS." So.. I freaked. I stared at him a good moment before I felt my heart drop. I instantly think back to all the times we had unprotected sex, which was, well, everytime with him. So I start crying. Right in the middle of work (it was third shift, all the clients were sleeping and it was just us two awake at that time.) Straight out bawling and scared shitless. Then, he starts laughing. "How cruel," I was thinking. "The man just gave me my death sentance, and he's laughing?" He said "oh, dont cry, no no. I was just kidding. I have Chlamydia." I guess it was his way to soften the blow? So the next day I went to the doctors and sheepishly told them my situation. And they gave me a shot in the ass of antibiotics and pills to take home. Not only was I given the clap, but my bum was sore for about three days. I learned the same lesson. Unprotected sex is not to be taken lightly. It -is- serious shit, and can be so much worse than a sore ass.

Side note: I was taunted by my sister for weeks by her singing the clap on, clap off theme song. however leaving the clap off out of the song. "Clap on! *clap clap - pause* clap on!!"

Meeky P. said...

Thank you for sharing your story. No, seriously, I would kiss you right now if I were into girls and you know, actually knew you and stuff.

I have suffered from the same affliction (chlamydia) and I felt like less than a dirty tramp. I felt like a low-life bottom-feeding troglodyte. It is one thing to find out from your doctor that you have an STD. It is quite another to find out from the nurse at the Department of Corrections because the jackass that you've been sleeping with is in jail!

He never once said one word to me. I was humiliated and scared and there was not one person that I could talk to about it. To this day, only one other person knows.

At least now I don't feel so alone! I still feel like a dingy slag, but that's a topic for another day.

Anonymous said...

Hey that was some entertaining writing! I have been a huge slut for about 10 years and I just got my first std. I've always been really careful with crazy encounters but when I do settle with one guy for awhile it's because we're like two sluts that finally found and accept eachother. Upon attempting to be faithful, we both get checked (make sure I go with them...because even the sweetest boys lie out of fear.)
Everything was going well until I tested positive for HPV. Oh, and not just one type...2 or more. This means that either one ex bf was carrying a cocktail or I put together my own as a result of ever thinking that 2 sluts in love was a good idea. Anyway, now Im fucked because every time I do, I have to disclose. I always use condoms but there's still a high risk that the guy will get it...even from oral. You would be shocked that not one guy Ive ever told has turned me down. I happen to be very pretty and fit so maybe that's why...haha.. that isnt as arrogant as it sounds. How's this for humble pie: I have one disgusting wart that keeps coming back and it makes me want to puke and I've had 2 cervical lesions that have had to be removed with lasers. Anyway, I learned that condoms will not save you. You can get warts and herpes from genital rubbing- no sex required. So basically, if you are a slut you are inevitably going to get one of these two. (Thank god I dont have herpes.) Even non-sluts are at risk because guys are notorious for carrying hpv and we all know guys fuck sluts.
At least I know I had one hell of a good run before it all came crashing down. SO, please, everyone get the new vaccine called Gardasil. It's pricey but it's sooo worth it. It protects against both types of hpv that I have but didnt exist when I could have used it (If youre already infected it's useless.) Trust me, chlamydia is a walk in the park compared to hpv. Actually, they have just linked chlamydia to alzheimers so Im not sure who is more screwed..literally and figuratively.

Destiney said...

All I have to say is that you must be one strong, brave woman. My situation is similar to yours as well. I recently found out that I had chlamydia, too. Unfortunately, I have to be the one to break the news to my sex partners, which inadvertently, will make me out to be the giver, not the receiver, even though, these sex partners are also having sex with other girls. I have been having a hard time dealing with this because of the fact that I will be labeled as you would call it, a dirty little tramp. i have still yet to tell them out of fear. I am not going to lie, I've had the breakdown, thinking my life was over, not because of my disease, but because i could have possibly tainted other people. I went into a horrible depression, I never felt so alone in my whole life. I am terrified to tell my friends because I am fearful of their criticism and their judgment which in turn pulled me into my depression and sense of loneliness. I am glad to know that there is a site like this that has others put in their comments about these types of ordeals without judgment or criticism and to know that I am not alone with what I am going through.

Destiney said...

I would also like to say that we are no less whores or tramps as the men that sleep with them! They are just the same! There should be no label on women for being promiscuous because everyone knows that men are far more worse than women!! Women have needs too! Shocker: some women don't want relationships or emotional attachments, just sex!! Just like men! Why are we labeled as whores and not men?

Sorry, but that is one issue that I really cannot tolerate, especially given my current circumstances.

Anonymous said...

uhh...men are not worse...women just hide it A LOT better...but it's good to see the perspective of women. i wonder if they have a site like this that men comment on..

Lilith said...

Women shouldn't have to hide it though. The issue Destiney is referring to (I assume) is that men are rewarded or praised for the same behavior that women are often criticized or ostracized for.

But men can comment on this site and often do. We even have a recurring male guest blogger, Adam.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to note that while "the clap" is a lovely nickname, it means gonorrhea, not chlamydia. And if you want to be totally grossed out, look up some of the theories as to WHY they call it the clap. ewwwww

Anonymous said...

You are quite the beastly and horrendous animal of a human being. Maybe you'll die in a fiery crash, who knows? The flames from the wreck wouldn't be the only source of heat after death, as hell is likely your resting place.


Congratulations on winning the award for commenter of the year!

Nadia said...

Here is my story about what happened when I thought I had an STD: http://doesthismakemelooklikeaslut.blogspot.com/2009/06/my-std-scare.html

Anonymous said...

I actually think your story has made me feel much better and is so typical of what happens in these situations. My boyfriend gave me HPV and high-risk HPV at that. He even knew that he had it. He had only slept with one other person in the three years prior to me and she told him less than a month before we started dating that she had HPV and cervical cancer. Did he bother going to a doctor to talk with someone about it? Did he bother to use condoms when having sex with me? Did he bother to tell me that he had this STD? I think you can guess all the answrs are NO. And he denied it for about 6 months until I finally had to tell him that I hadn't had sex with anyone in nearly 3 years prior to him and I always get tested for STD's in between sexual partners regardless of whether or not I've used condoms. Not only that but, once you turn 30, they make you take an HPV test annually with your pap smear. I had literally been tested the week before we started having sex. Once he was busted, he was busted. He couldn't hide it any longer. We've been together 1 1/2 years and we still can't get past it. Mostly because of his lies. I still find out all the time about lies he told me regarding this mess. I think the important thing for everyone to realize is that tons of people have or have had STDs. They say that at least half the population has an STD by age 25. What is so destructive about STDs are the lies and pain that people inflict upon others regarding them. It is a mental game of torture that you are inflicting upon another person when you lie about what you've done. Most people can pinpoint who they got an STD from. It's not that hard. But why people can't just be honest about it, I'll never know. If you are the giver, just fess up. Save everyone all this heartache and pain. Everyone is the better for it in the end.

Sharon said...


1 in 4 sexually active teenagers become infected with an STD every year, in the United States alone. Now, more than ever, we need to join together to fight this growing issue. As I read through your website, it is clear that you share the same passion for STD/STI awareness. We here, at Disease.com, understand the importance of STD/STI prevention and treatments. If you could, please list us as a resource or host our social book mark button, it would be much appreciated. We can not reach every teenager, but together we can try.
If you need more information please mail me with the subject line as your URL.

Thnak You,
Sharon Vegoe

genital warts treatment said...

Its best to just pretend that everyone you have sex with has an std. with that in mind, ALWAYS wear a condom, until you are ready to be monogamous, then, get tested to make sure there are no infections. STD's are everywhere. you pass more than one person everyday that has an STD!!!

Anonymous said...

@genital warts treatment said...

I full agree it's best to pretend that everyone you have sex with has an STD.

However condoms do not stop herpes. That is for life!
Full (HSV1&2 included) blood test (and physically seeing the printed results) before I sleep with anyone nowadays.

It's just not worth it!

Anonymous said...

The problem with men who carry HPV is that many of them have no idea whatsoever. Furthermore, there is no good, effective test for HPV in men. The only time we ever find out that we have HPV is if we wake up one morning and discover a wart.

It's really quite frightening from a male perspective, too considering most people who have it have no idea and there is no easy test unless there are visible changes in cellular structure (e.g. during a pap test).

On the plus (?) side, most people seem to be able to clear HPV infections if they have a healthy immune system, even though it takes 2 or 3 years for many of the cases. Also, aside from the three high risk strains, the wart strains are completely harmless from a carcinogenic standpoint...although I'm sure they're bloody annoying.

I appreciate your post, and the vast majority of the comments on this blog. I, too, feel that "slut shaming" of women (and men, too!) is counterproductive and even hazardous to our collective health because it instills even more fear and psychological trauma on top of the difficulty of having an STI in the first place.

Stay safe out there. Cheers!