The initial shock you might feel when getting diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) can be difficult, and oftentimes is an isolating experience. According to the World Health Organization, however, your experience is far from singular: As of August 2022, the WHO reports that every single day, more than 1 million STIs are transmitted worldwide. Most of these STIs are asymptomatic — meaning most of those affected may never know that they have one. In order to address the startling lack of education surrounding STIs, sexual wellness brands like Lovehoney and TBD Health are taking action to promote widespread education around STIs and reduce the stigma associated with them.
To further publicly-accessible STI education and help people get tested and treated, Lovehoney, a sexual pleasure and wellness retailer, has established an online resource center in partnership with TBD Health where users can learn more about living with STIs, what their diagnosis means for them, and how they can combat the stigma associated with a diagnosis. TBD Health is a sexual wellness platform that offers in-home STI testing kits and emergency contraception options. It has testing panels for a wide range of conditions, from curable infections like gonorrhea and chlamydia to treatable STIs like HIV or HSV-2 (genital herpes), and has a quiz to help you determine which tests you should order. These tests, ranging from $79-$299, are taken from the comfort of your own home and under the supervision of medical professionals, available via telemedicine or at their in-person clinic in Las Vegas, Nevada. Currently, the at-home tests and emergency contraceptives are available in Florida, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
In the Lovehoney and TBD Health resource center, experts like Lovehoney scientific advisor and Kinsey Institute researcher Dr. Justin Lehmiller, sex and relationship expert Dr. Jessica O’Reilly, and board-certified nurse practitioner Lauren Haines all share video responses to frequently asked questions about anything and everything related to STIs, including how to disclose your diagnosis to a partner. The platform also has plenty of information on the facts and figures surrounding STIs, as well as sexual pleasure and wellness product recommendations for when you’re in an STI-transmissible period.
Learning more about your diagnosis and how it does or doesn’t affect your sex life can actually help combat the shame, because it equips you with the power of knowledge. “Education is the first step,” Dr. Lehmiller said in a Nov. 17 press release. “Many of us received fear-based sex ed that taught us that STIs are just about the worst possible thing that can happen to you. In reality, many common STIs are curable. For those that are not, they are usually manageable with appropriate precautions and treatment, so you can resume a normal sexual and romantic life.”