Sexually Transmitted Infections. They’re incredibly common, yet they’re shrouded in silence and shame. What gives? At Head & Hands, we know that talking about sexual health and STIs can feel awkward or scary – especially if you have an STI. Because of the stigma, people hesitate to ask for support, more information, or treatment for their STI. Fear of judgment and rejection prevents people from talking to their partners about it. Silence even prevents people from getting tested for STIs in the first place! It’s clear to us that stigma spreads STIs. So that’s why we made this zine, to get our heads out of the sand!!!
While the focus of mainstream sex education tends to be about not getting an STI, we think that it’s equally important to talk about what happens if you do get one. Where do you go to get support? Who can you tell? Can you still have sex? How do you deal? To demystify the experience of living with STIs, we asked people to tell their stories – and we were overwhelmed by the responses we got. We can learn a lot from the stories in this zine. We can learn how other people cope; how they take care of their bodies; how those conversations went when they disclosed to a sexual partner (and then another, and then another). We also learn about the power of sharing these stories – breaking the silence can really be cathartic!
You can use this zine however you want. It might be a resource, an inspiration, or even a companion, so you know you’re not the only one out there. We hope to equip people to make decisions that feel good and healthy for their own bodies and lives. In the stories that follow, you’ll find lots of examples of people doing just that.
Download the zine here, or drop by our office for a copy!