Let’s talk about sex, baby. Let's talk about STDs. Oh wait, you didn't think that's where this was going, right? Right. That's because no one wants to admit they’ve had a sexually transmitted disease (STD). And who can blame them? There’s the shame, the guilt and the overall fear of labels like "dirty" or “slut.”
Thankfully, popular YouTube Vlogger Shannon Boodram, with her platform of 167k subscribers, is working to destigmatize STDs and STIs. Boodram, who has made it her shtick to confess her deepest and darkest secrets online, has shared her own “STD Nightmare.”
In the video, the self-proclaimed sexologist and journalist told the world that she was once diagnosed with chlamydia.
“Today I want to share a secret with you guys. I am a survivor of chlamydia. I say survivor not because it’s a life threatening illness, because it is not a life-threatening sexually transmitted infection, but I am surviving the stigma and shame and I am going to live on to tell this and not die of embarrassment,” she courageously exclaimed.
Boodram, who co-hosts a MTV and Trojan Brand Condoms web series about sex, wasn't afraid to share how she got it: Her boyfriend who she thought was monogamous really wasn’t. She also stresses that sharing her story is also about giving a face to the statistics:
“There are truth in the numbers. One in two people under the age of 26 will contract a sexually transmitted infection. That’s a whole lot of people behind me!”
One in two is not a joke. And while some of you may not think you’re at risk, know that African-Americans bear the brunt of the STD epidemic in the U.S.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black women were over six times more likely to have chlamydia than white women and Black men were eight times more likely to have the STD than white men. Looking at gonorrhea, Black men were 16.2 times more likely and Black women 13.8 times more likely to have it than their white counterparts. And syphilis is way up too.
This isn’t a game.
And given that most STDs, especially in men, show no symptoms, many people are completely unaware of their status and in fact may be unintentionally infecting others. Being undiagnosed and untreated for STDs can bring about a range of complications that include chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy, fetal death and infertility. Most important, untreated STDs can increase your risk of contracting HIV by 2-5 times.
So it’s clear, you need to protect yourself, get tested and get treated if necessary. And if your partner isn’t down with the safe sex part, Boodram has some sound advice: “Keep the condom, lose the a**hole and have a better sex life.”
(Photo: Shannon Boodram via Instagram)
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