First Time Getting Chlamydia

Questions and discussion about contraception, safer sex, STIs, sexual healthcare and other sexual health issues.
Mixxes
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First Time Getting Chlamydia

Unread post by Mixxes »

Hello! I recently tested positive for chlamydia. This isn’t the first STI I got (I tested positive for HPV years ago) but it’s my first time getting chlamydia. I knew it was bound to happen because I have many sexual partners and am extremely open sexually (I attend sex parties, kink parties, etc) and, even though I almost always use protection for vaginal and anal intercourse, I do not use it for oral which can transmit STIs as well. I let my partners know about my status. Most reacted okay, but there were a few who shamed me about it and got mad at me. The one I suspect I got chlamydia from because he never got tested and he was the only one I did not use protection with since “he didn’t like condoms” got mad at me cause he said I must have given it to him, even though he’s most likely the one who gave it to me. It was frustrating to say the least, but needless to say I’m never seeing him again.
Personally, I think STIs are like any other illness you can get except that it’s transmitted specifically through sex. I’m not quite sure why people stigmatize it so much and shame people who have it like they do. But the reality is, they do and I now have to deal with this. My question is, how do you deal with that stigma of being STI+ and how do you prevent yourself from falling through that thought loophole where you think you’re worthless because you have an STI?
Personally I don’t think I’m gross or worthless cause I have it. I’m just temporarily ill and getting treated. But it still affects me when people treat me differently or consider me gross because I got an STI.
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Re: First Time Getting Chlamydia

Unread post by nicole »

Hi Mixxes, thank you for reaching out. Before getting into anything, I just want to acknowledge that you did everything right after receiving your test results. Also, you seem very aware of how you contracted chlamydia and how to prevent it from happening again in the future. I am so sorry about how some of your partners reacted to the test results. There is such a negative stigma with STIs, so please do not take it personally. You also seem to be very aware of this, which is great!

First and foremost, many people hold this stigma due to being uneducated on STIs, particularly STIs that can be treated. Due to their lack of education, they often spew harmful remarks about those who have or had STIs. Again, you seem to have a lot of self-awareness and understand that you are not worthless because you have an STI. Has someone called you worthless or something similar because you have an STI? Does your question have anything to do with how your partners reacted to your test results? If you feel comfortable sharing, what did they say specifically? Maybe we can look into this together.

If you are feeling any negative thoughts about your test results, here is a great article that I recommend: A Manifesto on Pleasure and Self-Love for We With an STI.

Please let me know if this helps in any way!
Mixxes
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Re: First Time Getting Chlamydia

Unread post by Mixxes »

No one has directly called me worthless, but the way some people (particularly cis het men) reacted to me telling them was very off putting. The guy I most likely contracted the chlamydia from who never uses condoms or gets tested got mad at me, yelled at me, and said “I hope you didn’t give me that sh*t cause i didn’t have that”. He was the only one I didn’t use a vaginal barrier with cause he said he didn’t like it and the only one whose status I didnt know, so it’s quite possible he was actually the one who infected me, yet he was blaming me and getting mad at me. Another man I had sex with said that STIs were gross and that the people who got them were nasty. So naturally I was scared to tell him, but did anyway cause it’s my responsibility to prevent spread, and he treated it as if it were a death sentence. I’m just very disappointed that these people reacted this way and that they took out their anger on me, when they could have very well been the ones who gave it to me and not vice versa. I don’t deserve that treatment, with or without an STI. When people tested positive for COVID and let others know they had it and to get tested, people just did it. But they didn’t scream at the person who got COVID and blame them for being a slut. They just got tested and isolated. Why do people treat STIs as if they’re a stain on your reputation and your worth?

I get tested every month because I know I have a high chance of acquiring STIs since I engage in high risk activities like sex parties. I take PrEP to avoid contracting HIV. I try my very best to prevent STIs, but the reality is that with my kind of lifestyle, it was bound to happen. And another reality is that although I do use condoms every time for anal and vaginal, none of my partners of any gender like wearing condoms for oral. Honestly, I don’t even like it. But I assume that risk knowing very well I can acquire an STI because I’m okay with it and have accepted it. And they also acquire that risk too. Many people don’t realize that oral is how most people get chlamydia in the first place because it’s the sex that most people do not use condoms for. No one in any of the sex parties I’ve ever been to have used oral condoms, even though they’re readily available, have delicious flavors, and are right there. People readily take that risk knowingly and then get mad at their partners for “giving it to them”. It’s a little illogical.
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Re: First Time Getting Chlamydia

Unread post by Carly »

Hey Mixxes -- you're making some excellent points about the way our society treats people who have STIs. I actually wrote a paper for my graduate degree on the parallels between COVID exposure disclosing and STI status/testing conversations - there are lot! Even though I think catching COVID is more or less accepted by our culture, I discussed how I noticed in my social network there was a mid-point where people were being judged for getting COVID, as it somehow implied they were being irresponsible even though it's airborne and highly contagious even with masks or face shields. Sigh. It sounds like you take your sexual health very seriously and know that being treated like this total bogus.

Though I think that there is a stigma about STIs for all, I do see a connection with gender and how one is treated. This can get a little more nuanced factoring gender in as a spectrum rather than a binary, but... I think this is leftover purity/virginity/monogamous culture rearing its nasty little head. Having an STI indicates that you're sexually active and probably assumed to be non-monogamous, which are in direct opposition to those values. Of course, I think this has been and continues to be less harshly enforced on (cis) men, and I'm wondering if this is why the men in your life immediately turned this around on you. Does that resonate at all?
Mixxes
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Re: First Time Getting Chlamydia

Unread post by Mixxes »

That makes total sense and could possibly explain the harsh nasty reactions I got from cis men as opposed to my partners who are women and non-binary people. Those men probably have prejudice against me because I'm a femme, bisexual, trans, non-binary, polyamorous person. And they probably blame me for infection, even though it's very likely they could have given it to me, but since they don't test, we wouldn't know. And since I test so frequently, want to prevent spread, and am so open about my sexual health, they probably find that intimidating and use it as a way to demean me rather than as an indicator to get tested more often and use condoms consistently. Out of all my partners, cis men are the least likely to wear condoms with their partners, especially if they're heterosexual. And the least likely to get tested too. So I wouldn't be surprised if they were the ones I contracted this infection from.
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Re: First Time Getting Chlamydia

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi Mixxes,

I'm glad what Carly said is resonating with you. I will say there does still seem to, unfortunately, be a strain of ideas that a lot of cis guys in particular are exposed to where they see a partner who's very open about their testing history or their sexual health or history as an anomaly. I think that all mixes up with who we culturally think is "supposed" to be sexually active and how dealing with STIs or multiple partners are supposed to be things we're ashamed of, rather than just things we communicate to people we might be sexual with.

I do want to ask: do you feel/have you felt like you can push back against that unwillingness to use condoms from certain partners?
Mixxes
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Re: First Time Getting Chlamydia

Unread post by Mixxes »

I definitely can. I always use condoms with anonymous partners/random hookups. However, they disclose that they don't use it with others and use that as a way to get me to not wear condoms, which just makes me want to wear them even more with them. Haha. The only people I don't use condoms with are my established polyam partners who I've have had the "fluid bonding" talk with. Obviously, it increases my risk, but those partners get tested regularly, use protection with other partners, and are extremely communicative with me about their sexual health.
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Re: First Time Getting Chlamydia

Unread post by Michaela »

Hi Mixxes,

It sounds like you have put a lot of thought into the risk you are and are not comfortable with and are practicing a lot of open communication. Per your original post about the stigma around STIs, I think that one of the most impactful ways that we can begin to counteract stigma is to do exactly what you are doing which is to talk about it and engage others in conversation around it. I might flip this thread back to you because I feel like it would be important for others to read. What have been some of the things that have been helpful for you in navigating conversations about STIs or condom usage with your partners?
Mixxes
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Re: First Time Getting Chlamydia

Unread post by Mixxes »

So before I engage in sex with any new partner, I always ask about STI status, past condom usage, and their preferences on condom usage when having sex. Usually I’d “so before we engage in our fun, let’s about STIs and condom usage” which then leads to a conversation about our status and whether our sex will consist of condoms or not. If it’s a new partner, we use condoms (except during oral but we’re aware of the risks that has). If it’s a partner I see regularly, we usually talk about condom usage again and either decide to continue using them or fluid bond with them. There are very few partners I do this with, and we are all aware of the consequences especially as polyam people, but it’s an informed decision we make. Luckily a lot of my AMAB partners had a vasectomy and I’m on birth control so pregnancy isn’t an issue. However, we are well aware that we have a risk for STIs, which I take PrEP for and encourage my partners to do the same (especially if they’re MSM).
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Re: First Time Getting Chlamydia

Unread post by Carly »

Hey Mixxes -- thank you so much for adding some helpful advice in here. If you wouldn't mind, can you speak to feeling nervous about having these conversations? Do you ever feel that way? If someone were nervous about having a conversation like this, do you have any encouragement you can offer? Also, how do your partners react to bringing this topic up?
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