FEAR & LOATHING & THE COOTIES: STI’s STD’s and Society + Interview with Janelle Marie Pierce of STI PROJECT
IN THIS EPISODE, we interview director of the STI Project, Jenelle Marie Pierce.
Jenelle teaches us the difference between an STI & an STD.
We learn how many Americans are likely to have an STI at this very moment.
& We see once again how important it is to have honest & courageous communication.
Most people can’t imagine being the one who suffers an infection or injury. We tend to consider ourselves impermeable, unassailable by death or disease. We think we will live forever, in a perfect state, until some tragedy comes around and proves us wrong.
When we become a statistic, of any kind, we become a different person. Suddenly we realize; calamity can strike from anywhere, and oftentimes it’s just dumb luck we weren’t hit with something before now. It can be a loss of limb, or a loss of one of your faculties, or your mind, these things are some of the worst case scenarios.
BUT, what if the thing that attacks you isn’t very obvious, but it *is* laden with massive social stigma? What if you are stricken with something that you think will redefine you in the eyes of a judgmental society? Some illness that society dictates now renders you unwanted, untouchable, unworthy?
We don’t ever wish these things on anyone of course, but they do happen. This is the world of STI’s. It is a dimension of human sexuality that is fraught with fears, misinformation, and stigmas uttered in hushed judgements. It’s a world that no one wants to talk about. But if you’re a person with a love life, or sometimes even a social life, it is a world that exists, and you have a chance to become part of it.
But the world is changing. And not only are there more remedies and treatments available than ever before, there is also a new kind of warrior fighting a fight on this social front. STI advocacy groups are gaining traction around the country, and they aim to dismantle the shame and misinformation around this admittedly touchy topic.
They want to bring it into the light of day, to help dispel the stigma, spread awareness, and facilitate better healing from the damage that can be done to an unfortunate individual by society as much as by the illness itself.
Today, we talk with one of these warriors. She is Janelle Marie Pierce, herself a veteran of this type of common infection, and she is spearheading the fight against both the disease, and the taboo.
We had an enlightening conversation with her, and we feel it is relevant to all those who love, regardless of whether or not you’re one of the unlucky. Which by the way, are a lot more common than you think. How common? Listen in and find out.
Some links for your edification:
THE STI PROJECT, a public outreach group helping to dispel the social stigma around sexually transmitted infections: https://thestiproject.com/