Simone from the Wispering Podcast against a pink and blue background

Having "The Talk"

By Symone Elena
December 31, 2021

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wis·per·ing /ˈ(h)wispər-ing: verb to turn up the volume of our reproductive & sexual health conversations

Why no "h"? We're changing the conversation around sex, our bodies and reproductive health.

Welcome to The Wispering Podcast where our goal is to change the volume on some of life's most difficult conversations. This podcast is brought to you by Wisp, an online telehealth community for women and men looking for reliable and discreet online care for their sexual and reproductive health needs. Log on to and get same day, prescriptions for UTI, yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, oral herpes (AKA, cold sores) and many more. Medication can be picked up at a local pharmacy or you can have meds shipped in discreet packaging directly to your home. Online consultations only take a few minutes and all medication is prescribed by US licensed doctors for all fifty states.

Hey my babes! Welcome back to The Wispering Podcast. This is what, Episode Nine? Yeah Episode Nine! Today I think I want to kind of dive into talking to a partner about, you know, your STIs or STDs, why you should do it, and I want to harp in again on, you know, on herpes just because I feel like it still doesn't get enough exposure compared to everything else, but before we get there, let's just, let's just you know, take a second to realize you know, I get it.

You know, suddenly, finding out that you've been diagnosed with an STI or an STD is just a major blow, and you know it really shouldn't be something that affects your self esteem or holds you back. Like this is coming from someone with more experience than she wants to admit, but just treat it like an AA class. Like, hearing from others, who've gone through what you've gone through can really just put your mind at ease and just reassure you that you can genuinely live a totally normal life and when I say normal—whatever you define that to be, and you know, STDs and STIs can drastically change how you feel about yourself, how you feel about your partners, just- it can just do so much to your mental, and I want to make sure that you're always taking care of that as well as taking care of your body and just remember that you're not alone in this process.

So, when it comes to telling your partner whether this is someone that you're romantically dealing with, or its just sexually like, there is a "why you should do it," and you know, if your test comes back positive and you've been treated, you know, it really is important to tell any recent or current sexual partners, and I need to understand why. They need to be given that information just for the sake of respect, and for just caring about them. They just need to be given that information so that they can take the same steps that you did just to protect their own health and to keep that information to yourself is low-key just really selfish. Like- like you could say you love somebody, but love and care are just two drastically different entities, and for me, care is just, it just revolves around everything— wanting their well-being to be taken care of—all of that. Whereas love, for me, is just more super- just so surface level. So if you care about this person, whether you care about them or not, but to have enough respect for them, they need to know, and I get it, you know it's going to feel awkward, you're gonna feel a little embarrassed or where you might even be scared, like I understand, but again, to protect that person, not only yourself but to protect that person. It's just the conversation you need to have. And, like I told you guys in previous episodes, anything that goes left untreated, especially in STI? It can cause serious health problems in the long run and it could also turn into something even bigger than what it started out to be just because you're going so long and now you're perpetuating it, turning it into something that could cause, you know fertility problems just from scarring and inflammation, and this can also increase your risk of contracting a whole STD at this point. So just like ya'll don't want HIV, I don't want HIV, I don't want anybody to have HIV or anything that even results in getting closer to an STD. So just like, just- just talk about it. Just talk about it. Go to your doctor. Go get tested. Like, it is not going to take you a long time, I promise. And if you or your healthcare provider suspect that your STI hasn't, you know, hasn't been transmitted recently, you will still need to tell anybody previously, so they can get checked out if needed and if, you know, they'll have to get treated of course, but- and when I say transmitted, meaning you have it and you didn't go back to another person or move on to another person and transfer it that way.

So then it kind of goes back to, alright, I need to look back into my past and talk to that person, because, oddly 9 times out of 10, women are the first indicators of something being wrong in a partner 'cause a lot of times men can't be tested for certain things, and it's not until it's kind of too late and it's already been transmitted or transferred that people end up finding out, and you know it honestly doesn't have to necessarily come from you, that conversation. There are options where your doctors can actually reach out directly to previous partners, just to let them know, you know, you need to get checked out. And I think many providers also use like this partner notification service, where they can actually reach out to previous partners anonymously, like via text or call, like an automated type of thing, and let them know that they've been exposed. And this way, any previous partner, you know, they'll never know that it was actually you who tested positive, so you're actually kind of keeping yourself protected in a confidentiality aspect, but you know they'll still get- they'll still get that option of knowing and then still be able to get tested. So, I feel like when it comes to a current partner, yeah you'll need to tell them, because even if you get treated, baby, you'll have the opportunity of risk getting re-infected because you, just like you're playing tennis at this point, just bouncing it back and forth, and you don't want that, you don't want that. And these specific types of conversations can be difficult. But, I feel like it's also an opportunity to build trust within your relationship, and I say it might be more difficult than having to talk to previous partners, because, you know, that's a one-and-done conversation. Ya'll may not even have to see each other again, like you can just charge it to the game, like yes, this happened and then go your separate ways.

But if it's a current partner- and this is somebody you consider to not only be like a life partner but a potential life partner, this is where I can get tricky because ya'll are sharing space with each other, you're sharing just different levels of intimacy. So, you know if, if you feel as though your safety might be at risk by sharing this, you know, by disclosing this diagnosis with your partner, please use the option of having your healthcare provider. Take care of it for you, because you, my- my thing for you is that I want you to be safe by any means necessary, and not only am I referring to sexually being safe, but your physical safety, and if you feel like that person might, you know, be irrational in their response, they might get physical with you and you're just a little worried, or you feel like you may not even know how they'll react. Just use your resources and they can definitely provide you with different options and resources to help you, you know, go about this the right way just to keep you safe by any means necessary. And- I'm trying to think. Yeah so, alright, my- I hate even having to say this, but my ex-fiance—yes, your girl was engaged at one point. Remind me to not do that again with somebody I don't want to be with, but yeah I was engaged and I felt like my fiance cheated better than anybody could on an SAT test. Like, he was just a pure finesser, to the point where, like now that I know the term is gaslighting. Had I known what that term was back in the day, I probably would have saved myself a lot of trouble, but it was- it got to the point where I was getting a yeast infection every single time we were having sex. Like, it got to the point where I didn't even want to have sex, so that also like, perpetuated him cheating, which still is not an excuse, but yeah. And I just didn't understand so then it would make me feel like, okay, not only are you cheating on me, you're not using protection and you don't respect my body. And it came to the point where I didn't even know if he was even cheating and that's how it was happening, or it was just the back and forth between us. I don't know, like to this day I still don't know and I'm not even going to try to figure it out, but I got to the point where I didn't struggle having to tell him like, hey, this happened because, prior to you know, our engagement or before us even dating, like we were best friends. Like, that was my dog, so I was able to talk to him about anything, even stuff that I was dealing with- with you know, partners, while he and I were just friends. So that aspect definitely made the conversation with him easier, but it got to the point where I'm just like, dude, I don't know what you're doing and I'm not feeling this so like, I just- it got to the point where I was just paranoid to have sex with him. So then, one time instead of me thinking, you know it was a yeast infection, it ended up being trichomoniasis and I'm like, dude. Like, and my gynecologist, she- she's been with me since I was what, like 16? So low-key she was like a second mom to me, and Dr. Manthea did not play when it came to Symone, so she was filling my head too, like, Symone, like, what's going on with you and so-and-so like I thought you guys are engaged, like. And she wasn't like, putting seeds of doubt or like, causing discord, but she was definitely making me reflect on my relationship and giving me pointers on how to have this conversation with him and let him know like, hey, if you're not doing anything, then you need to go get tested. So, of course, I'm just fed up at this point because who wants to keep going to the gynecologist like 1-2 times a month like the shit's not fun. So when I- I ended up blocking him. Like before I blocked him, I text him. I was like you know, being dramatic and "oh I hate you" and "you gave me trichomoniasis," just like going in, and "the only way you can get this is from having sex with somebody!" Like, I was just going HAM. So then I blocked him and ya'll. I kid you not. This man called my mom. Called my mama. Mama really didn't even like him, but called my mom and I was like, I need you to tell Symone I didn't do anything this time, like I'm not cheating- and, keyword, "this time," not cheating this time, and I honestly- I just didn't believe him, but my mom, she ended up calling me. She was like, hey, so-and-so call me about what's going on. So then now my mama knows what I got going on, but granted I mean, after my first STD when I was 16, 17, it wasn't- it wasn't embarrassing anymore. It's just like all right now my mama knows.

But yeah, so it's just like—the conversation wasn't bad, but then you see how people will go to certain lengths to like try to convince you that it's not them, and it may not even be them. You never know, but you just still need to protect yourself and guard yourself and guard your heart by any means necessary, and if you don't want people like your family members, knowing, then you also need to establish that as well. Like, just make that known, "Hey, I'm sharing this with you. I'm sharing this with you in confidence and I'm being vulnerable enough with you to share this with you." So that's my little tidbit on, you know sharing with a current partner, because we were, I mean we weren't living together, but we were damn near living with each other, so that just kind of made me take a break from seeing him and prolonging us not having sex. I was just basically celibate at that point, so. To dive into telling a new partner like, whether this is somebody you're not even romantically dealing with, like this is just a full on new partner, and this is you know, you have an STI, I feel like if you've been diagnosed with an STI or just even have an ongoing STD. It is totally- and I promise you it is totally normal to be nervous about telling someone new and that just goes back to the whole conversation we had about stigmas and trying to break that so it feels normal and you don't feel nervous. But I kind of just want to give you a little bit of suggestions outside of what I've told you guys in like previous episodes. Just think about if the roles were reversed. Like imagine how you would like to be given this news. Now, not in the sense of fully diving into where this is exactly how I want it to be said to me and if it's not going to be said to me this way, this is how I'm going to react. Like, you just really have to know the person you're sleeping with, and that's why it's so important to be selective about that, because you have to know who you're dealing with- and you just need to put yourself in that other person's shoes and just go from there. Like having his difficult conversation shows that you- not only, you know, may or may not love this person like romantically, but you care about them and you do have their best interest at heart, no matter which direction the relationship goes. CARE is that you know that foundation and if they are good enough person that I would hope they'd be or if they care about you as much as I would hope they do, they will see this and they'll be more likely to trust and respect your bravery, and just for- you know, respecting yourself enough and them enough to have this conversation and not, you know, not try to keep this to yourself, because when I tell ya'll, I've heard some crazy stuff from my friends and them not telling folks, it's just crazy. But being direct as best. Even if that's not your, you know, your strongest point as a person, being direct is just- just rip the band aid off.

And then you also just need to kind of discuss what kind of STD you've got and let them know how it happened. Now, whether or not you know how it happened, that's another conversation but at least be able to discuss what it is, give them facts so that way people can kind of just digest what you're saying. Now, you don't need to, you know, go head first into all of your past relationships. Again, your past and your sexual history is your business and your privacy, but once it comes into affecting other people's lives, they do need to know, but you don't gotta run back to Jack and Jill, and you ain't got to do all that. But be willing to show that you're able to have this conversation and it'll definitely help put them at ease with you being open about that and, honestly, honestly, it's genuinely the best policy and it's better for your partner to find out from you because you said something before they, you know, ended up in a doctor's office seeking treatment for something they knew nothing about. And just let the conversation flow naturally. Like don't force it, and it really is best to listen rather than to do all the talking. And I've learned that even with my job, even if a person is wrong, even if the way they talking to you is just, you need to come down ten notches. Just listen, because I realized a lot of people, when they don't feel heard or seen, the situation tends to go in the direction that you didn't want it to go into, and it's just because there they felt like no one's really understanding where they're coming from, and even if you don't understand where they're coming from, you're giving them the space to just listen and to respect and validate their feelings, and you just also need to prepare for your partner to be taken aback. I'm learning as a 30, almost 31 year old woman, each person just reacts differently to the news. Like whether it's sexually, whether it's about anything in life, and some people just might become panicked or teary, and you know, you might want to cry, it's- it's- there's a lot going on in these types of conversations, and some people just might be full of questions, like they might not even show any emotions, and they just want to run down twenty-one questions of who, when, where, and how, and then others, they just might want some space.

But, it's- with any tough conversation you have to be open to all of these reactions and responses. Like, yes, you want that- you- you just really want that initial reassurance and the first mistake you can make is pressuring somebody to make any big decision about the relationship, about whether or not you should keep having sex, like you just want that reassurance right away because you're like okay, look—I rip the band aid off, I'm showing you my wound, and you're looking at it like, the fuck is that? And in reality you just want somebody be like, "Oh, it's, okay, you know, it'll get better, you know, just give it time." Not everybody's going to do that, and I get it. It's really normal to want that comfort and that reassurance after sharing something super personal like I get it, but, however, giving the other person time and space to just really digest this information is actually, and surprisingly, going to work out better in the long run, and it even might work in your favor. And I've learned that making suggestions to kind of like, ease that- that awkward silence that there might be of, "Hey. I know you probably want some time to think about this, so I'm just going to give you the space and the grace to do that," but you have to say it to where you're actually believing it yourself. You're not saying it just for them, just for the sake of making them feel better, but do it and mean it for yourself. And it'll definitely help boost your confidence, and you know, your self-assurance. And even in my past relationship, I- I'm an over sharer sometimes, so somebody's like, "Hey Symone, what'd you eat today?" I'll be like, "Oh, so I ate a tomato bisque soup with..." like, I'll just start going all in, and they just be like, bro, like I ain't ask you for all of that, but I'm very much an oversharer whether it's, you know, personal or not, and you know, like my previous partner, like I would tell him a lot about my past and a lot of the ignorant and crazy shit that I used to do just out of impulse and I'm trying to think of something specific. Do I even- do I really want to say this out loud?

Well, all right, so I- I may or may not have did something very vengeful to my ex. Now granted. He don't to this day he's not going to know unless he listens to this podcast, but, I did something because he hurt me. Like, physically, he hurt me, mentally, verbally, all of- any way of hurting me, he did it. And my form of vengeance was, you know, I may or may not have did some things with his boss. You know, I may or may not have done that, but anyways. You know, my previous partner was just asking me questions telling me to tell him the craziest story that- you know, about my life, and I told him that and, mind you we were on facetime, he just kind of just stared at me and I'm just looking like, maybe I shouldn't have told you that, but that's me wanting that initial reassurance or that initial reaction of oh, that- you know, dang, that's crazy and let's just move on, like no. He just stared at me, and I was like okay, maybe I shouldn't have told you this. And then of course, me being me and I'm very sensitive. I got upset because I feel like he was judging me instead of me just giving him the grace to just digest: Symone, you just told me some crazy ass shit and you're wanting to be like, oh, okay, yeah, that's- that's wild. Like no, and that was my first mistake and, you know, as I'm growing and learning, I'm realizing not everybody's going to react to things that I would because if the tables were turned and he would have told me that I'd be like dang, that's crazy, because it's- it was in his past. It ain't got nothing to do with me, and I'm constantly expecting me out of other people, and I can't- I can't do that. Like I even learned today, everyone is different and everyone handles similar situations very differently, and I have to be respectful of that. So, you know that was a little- little storytime. Again, that may or may not be true. I plead the fifth on that, but also I will say and guard your partner to ask you questions. So like when you're having the questions just open up that floor to be like, hey, you have any questions, do you want to know anything, like you know, tell me where your head is at right now and, as you talk, give them facts about it. Like, don't give them, "Well, I don't really know what it is, and I don't really know," because the first people- first thing people are going to think is: Am I going to die from this, or do I have HIV, like their mind goes into the darkest parts possible of a scenario, and it could be something so minor that five days of antibiotics can cure and then we're back in the bed doing our thing. So, if you don't have all the answers to the questions which is 9 times out of 10, the case, you could sit down, do some research online together, even arrange a visit to a healthcare provider just so that they can help reassure, like just to have that support system and to have someone have your back in this situation. That is just another way to go about it and, again, this goes back to building your confidence and trust within that partner because they're showing that you're really putting in the effort to rectify the situation, and I, when I say rectify, I don't want you to think that in any way, your diagnosis is your fault, because it's not. Your body is fighting against something it doesn't want there, and in the process of that, that war and that battle creates that STI, it creates that STD. Now it only somewhat comes down to being your fault when you ignore it, but again, ignorance is bliss and people think they know whwat's best or they- or they're, just ignoring the signs and the red flags and all that stuff. And you know, you end up having to learn the hard way and that's a life lesson at this point. But again, if you all do decide, you know, to go back to having sex, whether that's vaginal, anal, or oral—yes, oral sex is still sex, ya'll, like syphilis and herpes, all that is real, like stop trying to downplay just because it's not a form of penetration. There are other ways that you can be intimate and express your feelings for one another, like even when, like some people who don't believe in having sex on their cycle, like you still find ways to be intimate, and it doesn't have to involve sex, and on top of that, it can also help build your relationship in a more intimate way without involving sex, because sometimes when you remove the sexual aspect out of a relationship, you'd be surprised at how much stronger the bond can get. And in some cases, it could get worse, and then that should just let you know that that person isn't for you. Like, if you can't have intimacy without intercourse, that should say a lot about your relationship.

And, remember y'all, I say there's at the end of every episode: wrap it up once, not twice. There are people out there who have tried to use two condoms, but they're normally younger. But, yeah, if you do decide to have sex, use condoms. Practice safe sex. Now again, condoms are not the cure-all to you know, avoiding STIs and STDs, but they are, they are a great, great option and I don't want you to downplay that. So, you know, when you're talking to a current partner and we're moving on to, "Hey, babe," or (deeper) "Hey, babe," because you know, I can- I can do both, and being diagnosed with an STI while in a relationship. Again, y'all this is just, this is just harder than you may think, and even if you feel a lack of trust, your partner, or you feel guilty, it's important to remember that, you know, some STDs just don't always show up right away. Like they really, they really, really don't. They will pull up on you and you not even know and- especially if your partner doesn't get scanned- I said scan- screened regularly, yeah they'll, just they'll just pull up on you. And it's honestly, it's possible that you or your partner got the STD in a previous relationship and y'all didn't even know because you weren't getting tested regularly. So that's also another question to constantly ask like, "Hey, bab. When was the last time you got tested?" If they say 1-2 years ago, and you've gotten something within the relationship, one or two things had happened: someone- there was some form of infidelity, or they got it in a previous relationship and it has nothing to do with you and honestly, doesn't have anything to do with them, but they just chose not to get tested when they should have. So talk to them as soon as possible. Y'all, like just be honest, even if you haven't been honest in the past, there's always a right time to start bringing in honesty and, again, they may be upset. They may be angry. Y'all saw how I reacted on my ex-fiance. Like I spazzed on man's, but that was because of his infidelity. And it can be difficult to navigate, but it's important to tell your partner if the relationship is to get past this. Like, if you have a trajectory of being with this person for the long run, you gotta navigate it because it's so important if you want to have this relationship continue on for the long run. And, again, this is just going back to listening. That's the most helpful thing you can do is just listen to their concerns and their fears and just offer information like. Yes, you can try to offer reassurance, like, "I promise you I didn't cheat." Just offer them information. Facts can do so much more than reassurance sometimes. Like, people often trust facts more than they do emotions and you just got to give them time to take it all in. Like, even if- if you all live together, you know just give him some space. Like go, go do your own thing, like keep them in the loop of what you're doing, and just, just give them some space like time, just heals so many things. It can heal and it can unravel at the same time, but it's really what your relationship is built on, on whether or not it's going to go in a healing or an unraveling direction, and let me think.

Okay, so I had like, a freshly new relationship about, like a year or so ago, and we had a great bond like, like if, like to this day we, we, me and him could definitely still be friends. Like, we don't really talk as much but, sex for us was just a struggle. Like, it really was. Either it was like, I wasn't lubricated enough, or okay, this hurts, like that was just- it was a lot of friction and issues when it came to sex. And he, he really like, texts me out the blue and was like, bruh, my- you know, I'm having some pain in my dick, dadadadada, when's the last time you've had sex. The last time I had sex was this date, and of course, it was our relationship, and I was just flabbergasted at him coming at me like that, I was like, what are you talking about? And he was like, I don't know what you've been doing, but- just going off on me, y'all. And I'm like, bro, I didn't do anything. I haven't done anything. If you want me to go get tested that's fine. And the first thing I asked him was like, well, did you go get tested. And I was trying to explain to him why he might be feeling some discomfort because I'm like, when we're having sex and I'm not lubricated enough and we're pretty much just having dry sex, yeah your skin is going to be really irritated and uncomfortable. It doesn't mean you have anything. So I asked him did you go get tested. He was like no, not yet. I said, well, maybe you should go do that, let me know the results, and then we can kind of just go from there. So, of course, he went and got tested, everything came back clean and negative, and he apologized and I'm like, you know, I'm longevity and long-suffering and grace are just infiltrated in my DNA unfortunately, so you know, I gave him grace at the the situation, but I'm like, bro, in the future, don't- don't come at me like that. And I'm very understanding because I've been through these scenarios before, so I get it. But this is not how you talk to somebody you claim you love and care about, because you know, you're worried you have something. And I'm like, clearly you don't trust me so we need to work on that, and he's just like you know, I'm really just scared of getting an STD, or this, that, and the third, and I'm like, I get the fear. Like, I get it and that's why I'm not- I wasn't so upset and I wasn't trying to match your energy of cussing back at you and saying all this crazy stuff because I get it, you're scared, but when we are afraid of things, we have to figure out a different way to communicate this fear because talking to each other, like I'm just some crazy person off the street or some bum off the street, like no, that's not how we're going to go about it. So that situation there is a great way of NOT to talk to your person like that about something that you're concerned about, or even if they react the way that you know, my boyfriend did. You cannot match their energy, because when you do, it's showing that you're going in the defense, and that you have something to hide, or it just- just don't match people's energy, and I know that's like an- in our generation right now that's like an ongoing quote of, "I'm matchin' the energy you're giving me," or "I match it," like- do not match what you don't want. If you don't want to be in the state that they're in, don't match it. Like, and I know the pride and the petty in you is gonna want to match it, but- but just don't do it, just just let him have it and let him calm down, because when all the dust clears and settles, there's a solution to it all. And if you and your partner have already had sex, you know, and you find out about it like, Oh, I have it, but I didn't tell you, or whatever the case may be, just stop having sex until you both get tested, and even if your partner does not have any symptoms at the moment, stop having sex until you both get tested and then even after you do get tested and you've gotten your antibiotics and you're starting to feel a little bit better, do not, do do not, do not—okay, I wish it say that another language—do not have sex until you are fully done with your medication. So if it says you have to take 2 pills a day for seven days, I'd wait till the ninth day before y'all start going back into the full swing of things. Because again, I'm raising my hand over here from someone from experience who didn't know they had something, but did have something. And then I was like, oh I'm taking my medication, so we're good, and then you have sex and then guess what? It gets worse. And then it turns into something else. And then now you just, you just back, you just back at it again. So just hold it down, just hold it down, okay? And the both of y'all will need treatment to avoid, again, passing it back and forth to each other. So take the medication as your doctor prescribes, exactly how they prescribe it, and if you have an STD like herpes, or HIV, treatments can definitely lower the chance of passing the infection to your partner. So, that's another- another thing you really want to take into consideration because a lot of people are like, oh well, if I have these life long conditions, you know, how can I have sex? How can I be intimate? How can I do these-? You can still live a normal life, whatever normal is for you. You can still live that life, but you'll just have to go about things a little bit differently just to, just to protect both of you, and at the end of the day, it turns into being a calculated risk. Like it's calculated because you know what you need to do and what you have, but it's still a risk because there's an opportunity for them to contract, you know, whatever it is as well, and this also dives back into, you know, letting your freak flag fly and if you have multiple partners or if your partner has multiple partners, it's important that everybody gets tested and treated. So especially if you're, like in a poly relationship, or you are in an open relationship or you're swingers, whatever the case may be, everybody got to get tested. Everybody does and if you think, you've had an STD or an STI for a while, you need to let past sex partners know. Everybody's getting tested too. Okay? You're not the only one, because it's literally like a domino effect. One person just affects the whole line and again just boils back to, I understand that it's a tough thing to go through, but telling your partners about your diagnosis is the right thing to do. It's not only a good thing to do. It's the right thing to do. And if you think you have an STD or you have questions about them, just talk to a doctor, a sexual health clinic, hell even student health centers, should be super informed on this and just to lower your risk of anything happening in the future, use a condom every time you have sex, or just be celibate. And again, oral sex is still sex, guys. So yeah. I know it probably doesn't feel good using a condom while you givin' head or whatever, however you want to name it, fellatio, whatever. Use a condom. Okay? Just, just- there's a lot going on in the world. It's just like you just you don't want to take on anything else on your body that you don't need or have to.

Now, per usual, I'm going to talk about herpes and managing herpes, because I just feel like nobody talks about herpes enough and then when we do, it's just, it's just not, it's just not, a fun conversation. So people just don't talk about it. But for the- I want to say the six consecutive year, herpes is at a record high, y'all, in the US. Like, y'all really just gettin' it in out here! Naw, I'm just kiddin' but, and it doesn't show signs of slowin' down honestly, and so according to WHO, which is the World Health Organization, about half a billion people worldwide are living with genital herpes, and several billion have oral herpes infections, and it's just like new estimates are just showing this. And just like, I think I told a story about this before where a friend of mine we were in the group chat talking and she, she was telling us how like this girl, they were at pool party and she just like, came up to her boyfriend and I was like yeah. I guess she had like a flaring cold sore, and I'm not sure what had triggered it but she's like yeah, I've had this since I was a kid, dadadadada, and this kind of just boils back to how common it is. Like people with herpes suffer. They really do because there's flares, there's triggers that cause the flare-ups, and she may have gotten it just from sharing a drink with an aunt or an uncle, or a stranger kissing her on the cheek or whatever the case may have been. Like, there's, there's no fault on that happening to you as a child and unfortunately you just have to be guarded with people and just be guarded with yourself. Like, don't drink after people that you don't know or you don't know their health history, don't- don't kiss on people's babies. Like, don't- don't do that. Just don't, don't kiss on people you got no business kissin' on, because Mono was a big thing that was going around in my high school back in the day, and it's just like, y'all just gotta be mindful that for every action there's a reaction. It is very much cause and effect. So I know she might have felt a lot of anxiety when it comes to discussing this, and a lot of people might feel anxiety discussing the type of stuff with their partners. But you see she had enough confidence to be like, alright, I know you see this bump on my lip, or wherever it was on her and you're probably staring at it. Let me just kind of break the ice and have that conversation, and it sucks that she has to, you know, put herself out there to explain to people what this is, because a lot of people are just going to look at it and might judge her and she's just kind of like, breaking it in like I know you see it, I don't care, let me tell you my truth. And even if you rarely experience herpes outbreaks like genital herpes can be spread from any infected person into an uninfected person, and you won't even have any visibility of the outbreak. symptoms, like that's just how wild it gets, and this is because herpes just like COVID, is asymptomatic. So even when you're practicing safe sex, by using condoms, there is still a chance of just transmitting the virus, and because of this, it's just super important that any sexual partners are presented with the facts so that they can make up their own mind whether or not to engage in the sexual activity.

So that kind of just boils back to STDs, STIs, HIV, all of that. Give people the opportunity to decide of this is something that- this, this calculated risk is something that they want to dive into. And don't feel bad if the person doesn't want to engage any further with you. Like, so cliche, but what's for you is for you. Like, nothing that is yours can be taken away from you, can be stripped from you, even if you lose it, it can be a temporary loss, but you'll get back what's rightfully yours, whether you fight for it or not. Like, it's full circle. So give people that opportunity to decide like, if this is the life that they want. And I know a lot of us are afraid of a Herpes diagnosis, either because of, you know again, social stigmas or just herpes just can't be cured, baby, like it can't. The reality is that the herpes virus leads to irritating, but occasional, outbreaks that can easily just be controlled with medications. Like, you can control it. You can't get rid of it, but it's better to be able to have control over something, then for it to just be out of control and that just affects your mental, all over. So unless your immune system is just majorly compromised, an outbreak is unlikely to like seriously harm you, and there are straight forward ways to just- for you, you know, to address your symptoms so that it don't impact your day-to-day life, and that kind of just boils down to learning what your triggers are, like, just like her. I don't know what triggered her specifically, but for some people stress triggers it, it could be cold, it could- cold air like, there's so many different factors, and it's like once you learn your triggers, you can also control that to help decrease you having any outbreaks on a regular day- to-day basis. Like, you know it's there, but you don't have to suffer with the visible outcome. So, overall y'all, like the main takeaway that I want you to have from this, that being diagnosed with an STI or STD, it does come with its challenges, but baby, it is not the end of the world, like I promise you, it's not. I'm living proof that it's not, but you know, and so many other people are like this is such a common thing. We just don't talk about it enough, and that's why you know, Wisp and I are here to just normalize it. Like it's normal, it's uncomfortable, but it's normal, and there are steps that you can take to stay in control of it. Like you're not your diagnosis, like you're not. You're, not your mistakes, you're not your circumstances. It's literally it's all circumstantial! So, just because it's happening to you doesn't mean it's because of you, and I just- I just want to keep reiterating that, that it's just- it's not the end of the world and it's going to be okay, even if you feel like there's no way out of it. Even if there is no way out of it, you'll still be able to live your day-to-day life. You can still get back the life that you had before and you can still regain everything that you may have feel that you've lost, whether that's your joy, your peace, your confidence. Like, you got to fight daily for your life. You got to fight daily for and, and it sucks to have to say that, because not all of us have the awesome life of being happy every day and not having to worry about certain things and some of us like myself, you just have to fight for the things that you want, even if you feel like it's not attainable and that that goes for anything, whether it's a personal place or thing. If it's yours it's yours, you just gotta, you just gotta keep it.

So until next time my loves, don't forget, drop us a line. I always want to hear from you I'm horrible at responding to DMs, but even if it takes me two weeks, I got you, Imma get back with you, but you can definitely reach out to Qisp on IG and twitter @hellowisp and that's W-I-S-P and me you know already @SymoneElena, and that's with a Y, not an I. Yeah, you guys can his up there. Oh, and you can definitely go on Wisp's website if you ever need any help with medications, talking to somebody, it's Yeah, until next time my loves, be love, be light, wrap it up once, never twice.

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