This YouTube star is opening up about having an STI — and we’re listening

This YouTube star is opening up about having an STI — and we’re listening

No matter who you are or how many partners you’ve had, if you’re sexually active, you’re susceptible to all sorts of sexually transmitted diseases and infections (or STDs and STIs) like chlamydia, gonnorhea, genital herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis, and HIV/AIDS.

To help fight against the stigma surrounding STIs and STDs, MTV and Trojan teamed up to launch “How I Got an STD” earlier this summer.

The series, hosted by sexologist Shannon Boodram and YouTuber Josh Leyva, uses a sex positive platform to shed light on the taboo subject.

Boodram, who once tested positive for Chlamydia herself, feels that sharing personal experiences will help to educate and enlighten viewers on sexual health and safety. But, even as a sexologist, Boodram is no stranger to the stigma that follows. In an interview with Bustle, she talked about what it was like to open up in public about her personal experiences with an STD.

She says, “It’s a story that I didn’t think I’d ever share not because of how I felt about it but how I knew it would make others feel about me, but during the beginning conversations I had with Trojan and MTV my attitude somehow changed from ‘this could hurt me’ to ‘this WILL help others’. But even with that thought, omg I felt so so exposed and judged!”

It’s great she’s taking the first steps towards openness and awareness on the subject, because it’s a  prevalent one in our world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 20 million new STD diagnosis every year in the United States. Of those new cases, half are found in people between the ages of 15-24. As Boodram notes in her video, that’s one in four teens a year.

Even more troublesome is the fact that less than half of the adults from ages 18-44 are getting tested for anything other than HIV/AIDS, which leaves a whole host of STDs and STIs going undetected.


Although it isn’t easy for anyone to talk about STDs and STIs, the narrative is necessary to help end the stigma. Talk to your partner, talk to your health providers, be safe, and above all: GET TESTED.

We’re glad Boodram is being so brave and opening up about her own experiences. Hopefully this series will be the beginning of a really healthy narrative about our bodies and sex.

The post This YouTube star is opening up about having an STI — and we’re listening appeared first on HelloGiggles.

A boy suffering from congenital syphilis. The suffering this illness caused in pre-penicillin eras was completely excruciating. Approximately 15 percent of the entire population of Paris was believed to carry the disease by the end of the 19th century. Syphilis was shameful in these times, as many men got it from prostitutes working at brothels and whorehouses - symbols of decadence and debauchery in the public eyes - where it roamed free and untamed. Many people suffered in silence for whole lifetimes, subjecting themselves to treatments as horrible, prolonged and dehumanizing as the sickness itself.

See, syphilis does not necessarily kill you right away; many lived with their horrible syphilitic terror for 40 years or more. A most sinister, detailed account for it in can be found in the diary later published as La doulou: extraits du journal d'Edmond de Goncourt, describing french writers Alphonse Daudet’s gruesome ordeal in late 1800’s France. 

when Syphilis first surfaced, the English called it the ‘French disease’, the French called it the ‘Spanish disease’, Germans called it the French evil, Russians called it Polish disease, Poles called it Turkish disease, Turks called it Christian disease & Japan called it ‘Chinese pox’

Gummatous syphilide, with ulceration and necrosis of frontal bone

If you’ve ever wondered how someone could live with a skull like this one.

Tertiary syphilis would arise between three to 15 years after infection, and emerged as “gummatous” (forming gummas, soft tumor-like nodules, like what caused this lady’s ulcer) about 15% of the time. If the inflammatory nodules didn’t form on an important organ or blood vessel (as they could, and did, form anywhere in the body), gummatous syphilis wasn’t in and of itself fatal. Death from infected ulcers was not uncommon, however.

Interestingly, you could have gone to town with this lady and not gotten syphilis from her, despite her having been infected for probably more than half her life - tertiary syphilis is no longer transmissible.

A Practical Treatise on Diseases of the Skin. John V. Shoemaker, 1892.

This 1863 image from the Wellcome Trust illustrates a distinctly vampiric set of “Syphilitic malformations of the permanent teeth” – makes you wonder if the visual image of the vampire was inspired by the widespread horrors of untreated syphilis (for an exceptionally visceral window into a society wracked by untreated syphilis, have a look at the Mutter Museum’s display of syphilitic skulls). (via Curiously vampiric teeth of untreated syphilis sufferers - Boing Boing)