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It's a conversation that people with sexually transmitted diseases or STDs, also referred to as sexually transmitted infections or STIs -- such as herpes, chlamydia or HIV -- have been having for years. Today, an estimated 1 in 2 sexually active Americans will contract an STD by the time they turn 25. "The stigma associated with having an STI leads folks to believe that they won't be able to date and that no one will want to have sex with them, but in my experience, that's rarely the case," said Jenelle Marie Pierce, executive director of the STD Project and spokeswoman for Positive Singles.com, a dating website aimed at people with STDs."Sure, some people experience rejection after disclosing to a new partner."It's super important to make your STI status known prior to having sex with someone new," sex educator Heather Alberda said.
"Give the person space and let them take a day or two to circle back with questions."It's the people who say they're negative -- but maybe they're only assumed negative or maybe they've just never been tested -- who actually pose the most risk." It's also worth educating yourself about that risk."A once-daily preventive medication called Pr EP is now available for people who are in a relationship with someone who is HIV-positive," Alberda said.Instead, I view being open about my journey as a privilege I extend to a potential partner.Their reaction will determine whether or not I want them to be in my life." The sex educator known as Laureen HD added that "potential partners tend to ask 'what happened? And a common mistake -- at least, I consider it a mistake -- that people with herpes make is to feel that they owe potential partners an explanation on how they contracted herpes, as if contracting it from a cheating boyfriend versus from a one night stand makes a difference.