The only advice column that spins both sides of the truth.
Q: I think I have an STD. I’m scared and I don’t know what to do. I could’ve gotten it from either my ex or my boyfriend, right now, but I’m not sure. I know I should get tested, but I’m afraid of the results. What if I have HIV?
Side A: What if you don’t have HIV? You can go through these sort of questions, all day. But, the answers won’t matter, until you know what the actual questions are. So, you need to get tested, immediately. I understand that you’re scared, but you have to be brave and do the right (and legal) thing by getting tested. The longer you wait, the more you’re potentially risking not only your life, but the lives of your sexual partners and those that they’re sleeping with, too.
Side B: There is life, after being diagnosed with HIV. I know people who are living with it that are leading productive and happy lives. What matters is knowing your status, so you can start treatment to ensure that you’ll also live well, if you should have HIV or any other STD. Right now, however, you need to focus on remaining calm and being proactive about the situation. Stop jumping to conclusions, go see your doctor, then deal with the outcome of the situation. And remember, whatever the outcome is, you’re strong enough to overcome it.
Q: About two months ago, my girlfriend admitted that she cheated on me. As mad as I was, I forgave her and we continued seeing each other. This week, I found out that I have herpes. I know for sure that she gave it to me. I haven’t confronted her about this yet because I’m not sure how to. I’m so angry and I really don’t want to hurt her – emotionally or physically. What should I do?
Side A: First, separate yourself from her. If you’re living with her, go away for awhile. Spend a week at a relative’s, friend’s, or someone else’s home. Second, use the separation as a chance to calm down. Without a doubt, you have every right to be upset, but anger won’t solve any problem. So, aim to address the situation, once you’re calm enough to do so. Third, whether you decide to let your relationship go or hold onto it, make it a point to get closure on this situation. Have a discussion with her, in order to express your feelings and get answers to any questions that you have. Then, work towards bringing balance back into your life – with or without her.
Side B: My primary instinct is to tell you to leave her because, in my opinion, this is a clear example of how little she cares about you and herself. Not only did she cheat on you, but she also did not take the necessary precautions to protect herself. But, a part of me wonders how sure you are that you contracted herpes from her. It is easy to point the finger at her, since she cheated on you and it makes perfect sense that she would be the culprit in this situation. But, unless you have been tested before and during your relationship with her, you may not have known that you had herpes. Herpes can, sometimes, show no symptoms at all. So, it is possible that you could be the carrier, if you engaged in unprotected sex with someone before your relationship with her. If you are certain that this is not the case and she is the carrier, then you simply need to decide if you can either forgive her for the consequence of her indiscretion and move forward in your relationship with her or if it is best to break-up and see other people.
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