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STDs Affect Almost ALL Americans — So Why Is There Still Stigma?

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) will affect almost all sexually active people in America during their lifetime. Yet, there’s still a stigma attached to STDs. What can we do about that?

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I still remember a conversation I had with Liezl Mathews, head of Little Angels, a not-for-profit in the township of Hangberg in Hout Bay, South Africa. Quite a few years ago someone in the community was diagnosed with HIV and was really angry about it. She, believe it or not, had her child bite people to try to spread the disease. At the same time, she was petrified that if she spoke about it, she’d be stigmatized. So she hid her disease. Liezl, a trained HIV counselor, helped her out. In the end, the woman stood up in a church and spoke about it.

There is still stigma attached to HIV. I know several people who are suffering from the disease; some speak about it openly, while others hide it away. Should people really have to hide? I think not. But what can we do to remove the stigma from STDs? Let’s have a think, shall we?

How Many People Suffer from STDs?

Some years ago in Los Angeles, I read a profile on a dating site. The man in the profile proclaimed that he would not date anyone with STDs.

Statistically, this man is going to have a hard time finding love. An estimated 67% of the human population under 50 have oral herpes according to the World Health Organization. 80% of sexually active people in America also get HPV (the human papillon virus) according to the American Sexual Health Organization.

As these are viruses that don’t really leave the body (though they may cause no outbreaks, or just the one, and are not always contagious), that means that you’re pretty toast if you’re looking for someone without STDs.

The Ridiculous Notion of Stigma

I still remember when a girl in my class when I was a teenager walked up to me and asked me who gave me herpes. I was horrified. Not least because I’d never been kissed.

Herpes is hereditary. People in my family sometimes get blisters on their mouth when they have a cold. While it may be a bit annoying, it’s not exactly the end of the world. It certainly causes less pain than the cold itself!

A cold sore, or herpes, really isn’t much worse than a painful bruise, yet how the world views it, is completely different. This is likely because it’s contagious, but think about it: you may get a cold sore once a year if you kiss someone with herpes. Is it worth it to stop kissing because of that? Would you stop playing football because you sometimes get a bruise?

Getting it down below is, of course, not particularly pleasant, but again, how much discomfort will it truly cause?

HPV and HIV

HPV and HIV are different from herpes, in that they don’t just cause an annoying little blister. They can be deadly.

Today HIV, while it cannot be cured, can be managed. There’s nothing saying you can’t live well into your 80s with HIV. What’s more, if you’re in treatment, the chances of you infecting someone else is close to nil. It’s also easier to prevent getting infected, even if you don’t know the sexual history of a partner, as safe sex prevents it from being spread.

HPV is a bit trickier as it’s transmitted through intimate skin-to-skin contact. In other words: you can be a virgin and still contract it.

While most strands of HPV are fairly harmless, some cause warts and others cancers. Now, in most cases, the body can cure an HPV infection on its own and then the HPV virus becomes dormant. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 70 percent of new HPV infections (including those that are "high risk") go away within one year, and 91 percent are gone within two years.

In the unlikely chance it doesn’t go away, you can normally treat it easily, if detected in time. The important thing? Test yourself. Take responsibility, both for your own health and your sexual partners’.

Stigma Versus Responsibility

HPV and HIV can be deadly if left untreated. Does that mean they should come with a stigma? No, absolutely not.

The notion that HIV or HPV should be stigmatized is as ridiculous as the idea that any other disease should be stigmatized. Who are the people who say catching an STD is something to be ashamed of? The people who never have sex? Because, really, that’s what it boils down to. The only reason you’d frown upon someone for contracting these diseases is if the idea of sex mortifies you.

That, on the other hand, does not mean you don’t have a responsibility to test yourself. There was a time when HPV was undetectable in men, as well as in women who had no cell changes. That’s not the case anymore. There are tests, both for HPV and HIV. And while most of us have come to believe that sexual health checks should be done annually, if you want to ensure you don’t spread any STD, you need to get tested after you’ve had a new partner as you cannot protect yourself from HPV. There is no “safe sex” anymore.

Why the Stigma?

Many STDs can be cured with a course of antibiotics, such as syphilis and gonorrhea. Others require other kinds of treatment. For herpes, there is no treatment, but unless getting a blister scares you, it’s not much of an obstacle.

However, some STDs can be dangerous. And we can probably all confess to having fear — fear of getting sick. Fear of dying. Chances are, this is why we, as humans, take to stigmatizing STDs.

Stigmatizing someone else, is just our own fear of disease and dying.

Maybe if we came to accept our own fear and took responsibility for our own sexual health, stigma would, once and for all, go away.

Maybe it’s also related to fear in other ways — we could all get tested and demand sexual partners do the same, but no one wants to stand naked in the bedroom and ask for a doctor’s report. I don’t know about you, but I find it’s always kind of though to bring up the topic of STDs. “So, darling, not to ruin the mood or anything, but when did you last get tested? Instead of serving me wine, can’t you just nip down to the Ob-Gyn instead?”


Should we really feel fear in protecting our health though? No. But for that conversation NOT to be awkward, stigma first needs to be removed.

It may also be that the stigma is something that has stuck to STDs from previous eras. Back then STDs were often contracted from brothels. And they had dire consequences — dying from syphilis is not pleasant.

Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Imagine finding out you have HPV and it might take your body two years to shake it. Hooray. Even worse, you find out you have one of the bad strains and you’re at risk for cancer, or have already contracted cancer. Finding love just became that much more complicated.

Or what about finding out that, that one time you got drunk at a party and went home with someone, you ended up getting HIV. Now you have to take meds for life and explain to every new sexual partner that you have HIV. Not that it should matter, because if you’re on your meds, you shouldn’t be contagious. But to many, it will, sadly, still matter.

Now imagine being in their shoes. And it’s not that hard. If you’re sexually active, you have an 80% chance of landing yourself with HPV at some point. Either way, just imagine the feeling of being diagnosed with a disease. The uncertainty. The fear. The what ifs. The sudden realization that you’re mortal, after all. Wouldn’t you, truly, want to support that person?

In Closing

Stigmatizing people who contract STDs, is the equivalent of looking down on anyone who is sexually active — anyone out there dating and looking for love, or pleasure. Is pleasure something you should feel guilty about? If so, should you feel guilty about eating chocolate too? Or having a long bath?

Herpes and HPV can further be contracted without having sex. So that’s like looking down on people for no good reason whatsoever. Plus, chances are you have it yourself, even if you never noticed, because it becomes dormant pretty quickly in most cases.

If we want to live in a society where we feel free to be honest and talk to each other openly; if we want to receive support when we need it (such as when being diagnosed with an STD), then it’s important we stop looking down on others. It’s also important we start being honest, instead of hiding away when we have something that can be stigmatized. We all need to stand up for ourselves.

So here’s to all the people out there, who knows what it’s like to get blisters for the sake of love, or have to pop meds because they got tangled up in an affair, or have had a course of antibiotics to fight the fact they fell in love, or had a cancer scare because they suffered an incurable attraction. 



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Christmas is around the edge and it's the time you can find the best way to deal and acclaim this brilliant day. Here are two or three the stupendously present day contemplations of watching Christmas. The most inclining point nowadays is that How to Decorate Christmas tree.

As it is the primary image of Christianity. It's the desire of each individual that his tree should look totally changed and attractable when contrasted with different trees showed by various individuals at this day. This tree is the principle part of this occasion and without it this occasion can't be praised these trees are profoundly structured by individuals themselves and experts. Notwithstanding these things numerous different things are done on this day to make this occasion paramount. Beneath we will examine hardly any thoughts by which Christmas could be praised in a superior manner. Below are some Christmas gift and meal ideas that are trending these days.

MEALS:

• A Christmas ham supper is at least somewhat conventional. To make this magnificence, you'll brush the ham with a blend of mustard, dark colored sugar, salt, and pepper to make the sweet, brilliant coating. Remember to score the ham before cooking to enable the skin to fresh up as it prepares. Treat a few times during the cooking procedure to develop that succulent coating, bringing about a delicious, delicate ham that is not very sweet and not very zesty. You can serve it warm or at room temperature, so it's ideal to set out for a Christmas buffet.

• Help holiday guests warm up on a chilly winter evening with this retro dish that’s become trendy again. Two kinds of shredded cheese combine for a deeper, more complex flavor; because the cheese is shredded, it should melt fairly quickly. The final product—gooey melted cheese with a bitter kick—is the comfort food of your dreams. Serve with soft pretzels, toasted baguette, or go beyond the basics and offer an assortment of dippers: cut-up apples and pears, sliced cooked sausage, broccoli, and cauliflower florets, or cherry tomatoes. It’s a fun way to get everyone mingling before they sit down for Christmas dinner.

GIFTS:

Little kids are always in need of different toys. One can gift them these by knowing the taste of kids that which type of toys they like. It will make them happy as kids of small age love to play with toys.

For younger people you can gift them different gaming stuff or gadgets as they love these things at this age, they may in need of different gadgets. Gadgets include watches, cell phones, laptops etc.

Noida is a place which has a lot of awesome birthday party venues to choose from of different kinds. If you want a restaurant with amazing ambiance and great food, they have it. On the other hand if you just want a club where you can party your heart out, that is there as well. Furthermore, if you want to do something entirely different and unique, there are a few good options for that too. You are definitely spoilt for choice when it comes to birthday party venues in Noida. Below is a list of places that I believe are the best bday celebration places in Noida right now.

1. Gravity Restaurant and Bar

This is a fun place to host a birthday party with your family and friends. It has food that is of the quality of fine dining but an ambiance that is more casual. They have both vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes to choose from and serve a variety of different cuisines. This restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating options and you can grab a smoke outside if you like. They have some delicious drinks as well to choose from which is great for those who love to drink.

Where: Sector 127

2. The Magik Kitchen

The Magik Kitchen is a great option for celebrating a birthday in Noida. They have a very traditional ambiance and they serve mainly North Indian food. The chefs here are incredibly talented and know how to make amazing food. The staff here is also friendly which is always a plus and they ensure that you have an enjoyable evening.

Where: Sector 63

3. Legends Barbeques

When it comes to hosting a budget birthday party in Noida, this is one restaurant you should consider. While barbeque restaurants are usually quite expensive, this restaurant is actually affordable. It is not cheap by any means, but for a barbeque restaurant, the prices are definitely reasonable. If you want absolutely yummy food that you keep going back for this is a great option. They have a spacious restaurant where you can celebrate your birthday with your family and friends. To make the experience more economical you can go for their buffet option and enjoy all the varieties available.

Where: Spice World Mall

4. Jungle Jamboree

Jungle Jamboree is the restaurant you should go to if you are looking for something different. The theme of this restaurant, as the name suggests, is jungle life, and the ambiance definitely matches it. They have greenery everywhere and the walls are painted yellow and green as well. The restaurant has a very wild, rustic vibe to it, in order to create a very controlled but authentic jungle experience. The food here is delicious as well and is served in a rustic way in keeping with the theme.

Where: Sector 34

5. Hike at Bharadwaj Lake

Why not do something completely different on this birthday to make it all the more special. A hike at Bharadwaj Lake to start of your birthday celebration is a great idea. It will be something that you always remember and it will definitely be a unique experience. Furthermore, you will get a chance to see a beautiful sight and tick something off your bucket list. It will refresh your mind and give you an opportunity to reflect on the past year. You can do this alone or you can ask your friends to tag along. It will definitely be a unique way to ring in the new year and burn some calories along the way!

6. Filmy Flavours

If you are someone who loves Bollywood, then this is another great option for you. As the name suggests, the ambiance at this restaurant is retro bollywood. Even if you are not a super fan of bollywood this is a fun place to go because they have a great vibe. They have neon lights and amazing bollywood hits playing throughout the night. The menu here is also bollywood themed and they have some great dishes and drinks to choose from.

Where: Sector 63

7. Chicane Pub and Lounge

Chicane Pub and Lounge has the ambiance of a retro cafe with wide arm chairs and neon lights. They have fun decor like crystal chandeliers and leather couches which give it an old world charm. They have North Indian, Italian and Mughlai dishes on their menu so you have a wide range of flavours. This is one of the small birthday party venues in Noida which provides an intimate setting. If you want to have a party with your close circle of friends then this is a great spot.

Where: Sector 25

8. Jodha Akbar Restaurant

This is a great restaurant for first birthday party in Noida with your family. It is a very beautiful restaurant and has a very royal ambiance to it, as the name suggests. The architecture of the restaurant is quite breathtaking and the food is equally delicious. There is something quite comforting and luxurious at the same time about the food and ambiance here. If you enjoy Mughlai food which is absolutely delicious then this is a great choice.

Where: Sector 18

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