An Infection Story from a Modern Girl

Me? I’m not one of those girls. I don’t get STIs. Being a modern woman, I have sex responsibly; I have an IUD! I remember feeling so dirty, even as Richard, now a close friend, looked at me kindly while he told me I should get tested. This was my fault; I had done something wrong, and now I was one of those girls. But I didn’t believe the diagnosis, so I ignored it. The scene with Coach Carr from Mean Girls flashed in my head: “You will get chlamydia instantly and die.” This is why the STD at-home test is so important.

The Google searches didn’t help – the words “serious permanent damage” screamed at me from my screen. Chlamydia often doesn’t present STD symptoms, and if he hadn’t told me what I had given him, I don’t know when I would’ve found out.

Finding out

A week after finding out about my Chlamydia, I got a Facebook message from someone I had slept with a few months prior before I’d started seeing Richard. I had crushed on him throughout high school, and we finally met earlier that year. That night, we had fooled around, but when we started having sex, I pushed him off of me because I didn’t feel well. We slept, and the next day, we got breakfast. My head flashed through this memory as I read the message where he apologized profusely but suggested I need to get STD tested. “We barely had sex”, I thought. Yet this instance, which I so hoped I could ignore, was enough to give me an STD.

Now I was mad. He did this to me; he made me dirty. The thought of him made my skin crawl; I could feel the Chlamydia sinking into my skin. I wanted to shower. While living abroad, I was far from my comforting gynaecologist, whom I had been seeing since I was 14. Luckily, I had a friend whose father is a gynaecologist, so he wrote me a prescription, and I went to get the set of pills: 2 a day.

Dealing with it

Once it was “dealt with,” I told friends and laughed. It became a joke, and I tried to tell it more and more to desensitize myself to the shame I had felt the way you play off an awkward interaction– but even with close friends, as I started becoming more comfortable with it, I could see the way they looked around when we talked about it. They wanted to protect my privacy, my honour.

The Chlamydia came back a few months later. I never went to the doctor and had probably misunderstood the dosage. Most doctors recommend getting tested 30 days after treatment to ensure the treatment works, as it can reappear.

I felt the dirty feeling again, as though the chlamydia rapid test was sticking to me. This time, there were people that I had to tell: The boy I had started to like who I’d seen for a few months and my ex-boyfriend who had come into town to visit. Although they tried to be kind when I did inform them of my diagnosis, they, too, were scared, anxious about telling their parents, and mortified to speak to their family doctor. I remembered when I first learned it and how I had thought of the person who gave it to me. Now I was really “that girl”.

Exams always

My follow-up STD Kit test was negative: it flashed on my computer during a staff meeting at work. I quickly closed my screen.

This past year, I’ve learned that I am one of many. Chlamydia is the most common notifiable in the United States (CDC). Each year, the rate of chlamydia infections increases. You can pass it through vaginal, anal or oral sex. Almost half of the STIs that occur every year are from ages 15-24, and 1 in 4 Americans have an STD. Because of the lack of symptoms, Chlamydia often goes untreated. You should be getting an STD test! Talk about your experience with STIs!

I am the friend girls whisper to when they get their first STI because they know I’ve gone through it. I tell them it’s nothing to be ashamed of, that we’re part of the club now. Open up and tell your story. Many people have their own stories to tell.

I am embarrassed by my inability to post this under my name. As far as I’ve come since that first day, I still feel that I cannot fully face the stigma surrounding STIs. I worry about jobs finding the article and people I’ve been with in the past reading it. However, writing this is a major step for me in terms of completely accepting my experience with Rapid chlamydia tests. While I have accepted that this is a part of life many others have experienced, I fear what people will think. I hope to begin changing these conceptions in my community, and I urge you all to do the same. Badass women get STIs, treat them, talk about them, and go on to run the world.

What do people frequently ask from YDO experts?

Can it come back?

Yes, having unprotected sex with someone with Chlamydia can bring it back. This is particularly very common in women. Finish your course of antibiotics and talk to your partner about testing and treatment to prevent it from recurring. Retest after three months to ensure eradication of the infection. You must be tested and treated because you will spread it to 5 other people who will be affected again within a few months.

Can it go away on its own?

No, Chlamydia is an STD and does not usually go away by itself, but antibiotics can cure it easily. Although some cases resolve immediately, treatment is necessary to prevent complications and transmission. Management and prevention of Chlamydia require early STD Lab Test detection and treatment. Therefore, if you suspect Chlamydia, talk to your doctor immediately for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

How did I get infected?

Even if your partner seems healthy, you can get chlamydia rapid tests to find out. Your partner may have an asymptomatic or undiagnosed infection. If partners instantly test for Chlamydia, you will need to abstain from sex until your infection is cured completely.