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It felt like an ironic sitcom plot twist that would wind up being a huge misunderstanding: the episode where Ella convinced herself she had herpes.Har har." data-reactid="48"A FEW DAYS SHY of my 21st birthday, I woke up to find a cluster of painful red sores on my labia.In fact, the same could be said for most of the sex I’ve had since I was diagnosed with genital herpes two years ago.(Photo: Ella Dawson)A FEW DAYS SHY of my 21st birthday, I woke up to find a cluster of painful red sores on my labia.I tried to convince myself I was having some sort of allergic reaction to a new pair of underwear, but Google-searching my symptoms pointed in one, very specific direction: an STD.Both Herpes and HPV can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact (not through bodily fluids) through oral sex, sex (even with a condom), while the infected person is on suppression medication, or even when they have never had symptoms at all.
Plus, I wasn’t the sort of person STDs happened to.What we hadn’t anticipated was that because we weren’t students anymore, we didn’t exactly have a bed to call our own." data-reactid="28"ANDY WAS GIGGLING. Andy was working on a political campaign in Maine while I finished a social media internship in New York City.What we hadn’t anticipated was that because we weren’t students anymore, we didn’t exactly have a bed to call our own.WHEN I LOOKED UP the statistics on how common herpes is, the math didn’t add up: If one in six people had genital herpes, how was I the only person I knew to do the ultimate walk of shame from the student health center clutching a stack of STD pamphlets?Further Google searches opened my eyes to the powerful and invisible stigma associated with sexually transmitted diseases.