I’ve recently found myself often wondering what’s the deal with these super STIs that keep popping up in headlines all over my Facebook page. As a self-proclaimed slut, I’m honestly not too terribly devastated should I happen to get the common variety of chlamydia, syphilis, or gonorrhea; if you’re going to have promiscuous sex with strangers, you have to accept that anything is possible, and thankfully these viruses are mostly treatable pretty easily. Keyword: “mostly.”
These aforementioned headlines instill a strong sense of “the sky is falling!” more and more frequently. While discussing this with a group of friends, I proclaimed, “What the fuck is up with super syphilis and super gonorrhea and what the fuck else? Who actually gets these diseases? Are there lepers just holed up at home, incurable and sexless and peeing blood for the rest of their lives?”
“I had super chlamydia,” one of my friends announced. “Holy shit, what happened???” Well, he told me and I am going to tell you. But first, let’s do some learning.
A little googling taught me that while there are advanced strains of chlamydia (the world’s most common STI) to be aware of, it’s really the strain of super gonorrhea that’s the doozy. Noted cases seem to be more prevalent in other countries, but are slowly trickling their way to America, particularly the west coast. And while “incurable” might be an exaggeration for now, antibiotic resistant strains are seemingly inevitable.
This column has always been more about experience than vomiting statistics, so I thought it’d be important to showcase what happened when someone got one of these resistant strains so you can take from it what you will. It turns out this friend, who lives on the west coast, had LGV, or Lymphogranuloma venereum. So here’s his story. Warning: it’s kinda gruesome.
For Independence Day last year, I went to Bear Valley with my friends. When I got home, I saw an email from Dr. F regarding the routine STD tests I’d taken before leaving. The email said I had tested positive for rectal chlamydia, and gave detailed directions on treatment, contacting partners, protecting myself in the future, and following up with additional tests once the treatment had been completed.
“If you have anal bleeding, anal pain, or swollen lymph nodes in your groin, you may have a more serious chlamydia infection called LGV which requires a longer course of antibiotics. If you have these symptoms let me know. If you don't have anal symptoms, you can be treated with standard Azithromycin single dose.”
I had not noticed any symptoms at this point. I got the antibiotics the next morning and didn’t have sex for a week (which is, like, REALLY tough cuz all the studs want it). I don't quite remember how the symptoms first appeared, but I must have been fine for a while because it wasn’t until more than two weeks later that I sent this email to my doctor:
“Hi Doctor F, there has been some fresh blood in my stool the last couple times I have gone to the bathroom, which I remembered you said was a symptom of LGV. I've had no pain and no swollen nodes.”
Following doctor's orders, I got re-tested and the results came back three days later: positive. At this point I remember being pretty anxious to resolve the whole episode. The skin around my butthole had gotten more irritated and the whole region had a dry and mild stinging feeling, like it was chafed. I was experiencing mild constipation and sometimes when I pooped, a bunch of blood came out. How much blood? Like, we’re talking I go to wipe my butt and two layers of toilet paper are soaked through. Wet, fresh blood. It was definitely uncomfortable.
My new script was a three-week regimen of doxycycline. Doxycycline is a tiny pill you take twice a day for three weeks. It didn’t give me digestive problems like Azithromycin did, but you aren’t supposed to be in the sun for long periods of time and there’s a bunch of warnings on the bottle. The symptoms took a while to completely go away. Maybe two weeks into the antibiotics I was still uncomfortable and had zero interest in anyone touching my ass. I remember at one point being a little doubtful that they would clear up by the end of the course, but they did and the next time I got tested I was negative.
So this might be the unsexiest column I’ve posted to date, but like all things, you have to face the good with the bad, and every ethical slut should be aware of what’s going on in this big crazy world. Knowledge is power, y’all. Hearing other people's’ experiences helps to arm us in a way that always feels more poignant.
So yeah, it’s no surprise to anyone that having a super strain super sucks. But as for the real scary one, super gonorrhea, I’d still really like to know more. If you or anyone you know has had it, tell them to hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can hear their story. Until then, know what’s out there, talk to your partners, talk to your doctor, and for the love of sex, get tested regularly.