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Sexual Health (young people)

STIs: feelings about

Women often feel really bad about having an STI, making them feel 'dirty', 'devastated' and in need of emotional support and medical treatment. 

 

Explains that she needed emotional support as well as physical care when experiencing Chlamydia. ...

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Age at interview: 20
Sex: Female
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I recently saw a program about this lady who contracted Chlamyidia and she didn't realise that she had it, when she found out the effects of this Chlamydia, she realised she couldn't have a baby. This to me is really scary, you know because people need to know the effects of what can happen if you have this disease but also that there is treatment for it. 

The balance needs to be there for both of them. Emotional support I think is really important for this kind of thing as well, because it's not just an infection, it effects you mentally as well as physically, so people really need some help there.

I wanted someone to tell me that everything was ok, that I wasn't dirty and that, you know, the thoughts that were going on in my head were normal, to sort them out.

I needed to speak to someone to tell them how scared I was, but also just to listen to me and understand and reassure me. I don't think it's always easy for people to go and speak to their family or friends, especially about this kind of thing because it can be embarrassing and a bit of a taboo subject.

Mothers can be a real source of support in finding out about the problem or taking their son or daughter to the clinic, although not everyone can tell their parents. Some of those interviewed said that they felt they had to cope on their own.

 

Discovers that her mother had Chlamydia only after she told her of her own experience of...

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Age at interview: 21
Sex: Female
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After I told my mum about it, she told me that she had it as well, so she explained to me how it worked, then she was quite happy that they discovered it quickly because like for her, she had it a long time. She was complaining that she didn't really have the same symptoms as me, and the thing is because of it now, she can't, she can't be pregnant anymore, because she had - how do you call it in English - the 'trompe' ?

The Fallopian tubes.

Yeah. One of them, no I mean both, I think both, are blocked, so she can't, I mean she can't be pregnant anymore, so' And this, she never explained to me why it is she couldn't be pregnant, so, I was quite happy that I discovered it quickly and I didn't wait that long to '

In your mother's case what symptoms did she have or did she have no symptoms? 

She was complaining that she had pain, she had pain and she went many times to see the gynaecologue, and he was like, you know, he didn't really care and she had been really disappointed because she was always explaining to him, I have pain, I have pain and he was like, no it's nothing, I don't know. I don't know exactly, but she, she felt the pain for a while. She told me many times but he didn't even want to check, so she went to another gynaecologue and this one told her what she had got '..but it was too late. If you have been waiting too long time, the first one has been waiting too long time so'

So she became infertile?

Yeah, because of it.

Close friends can provide good emotional support. Some people said that their friends could be shocked or judgemental at first, but most were understanding once they find out more. Sometimes people only really learn about how easy it is to catch STIs when one of their friends finds out they have one.

Some people are in touch with the person they caught the STI from, some are not.  And sometimes people tend to split up or drift apart after an STI is discovered. One woman said that she had told a casual partner that she had caught an infection from him, but that he had not done anything about it.

 

Explains how her boyfriend reacted after been told he had given her Chlamydia. (Actor)

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Age at interview: 20
Sex: Female
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My boyfriend or ex-boyfriend, didn't realise he had Chlamydia either, so he was about as shocked as I was when I told him and pretty upset, it kind of ruined our relationship and obviously we're not together anymore.

So who helped you most during that time?

My mum and my best friend really, my boyfriend just wasn't interested in helping me through this or us helping each other. It was really hard at first to talk to my mum about this sort of thing but she was great and did come with me to the doctors and things like that. 

My boyfriend's reaction was, he was quite scared, he didn't know anything about it so I just gave him all of the information that I had gathered so far and he took that away with him, went to the doctors, got his treatment and that was it really

How did you feel when you saw your boyfriend?

When I saw him it was really weird, we kind of looked at each other and we just, I don't know, things had changed, we didn't feel the same anymore and we just knew it was over.

So that ruined it really, yes I am worried about this kind of thing happening with my current boyfriend, I think I will definitely be tested periodically, and I mean if the test came up positive for anything. 

I would be really scared of bringing it up with my boyfriend because you know, I was in love with my ex-boyfriend and it ruined everything, so I would be really scared to talk about it with my current boyfriend, in case everything went wrong again, even if it wasn't my fault.

Most people who get STIs find that it changes their attitude to unprotected sex and they're always careful to use a condom afterwards. One woman we interviewed had made it clear to her partner that if he ever slept with anyone else, he must use a condom. Some people get their partners to have a check-up before agreeing to sex without condoms.

 

Explains that after experiencing Chlamydia her attitude to unprotected sex with casual partners...

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Age at interview: 21
Sex: Female
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Yeah well after that I would... when it come to the point, if they said no I said well sorry I'm not going to do it then. 

So in a way your attitude changed?

Yeah 'cos one of my ex boyfriends he came up and I went to bed and he was like trying it on and that and I said 'well are you going to wear something', he said no, so I said 'I'm going to sleep then' and so I just turned over and went to sleep. I was really wary after that.

Yeah, having... once I had that I was like right, after I'd been with a different bloke or like every six months, I would go and get myself checked out, Cos' I wanted to know that I wasn't like passing anything on or didn't have anything myself, that I was fine. So it was the Chlamydia that done it.

Last reviewed January 2016.

Last updated August 2012.

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