This YouTube star is opening up about having an STI — and we’re listening

No matter who you are or how many partners you’ve had, if you’re sexually active, you’re susceptible to all sorts of sexually transmitted diseases and infections (or STDs and STIs) like chlamydia, gonnorhea, genital herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis, and HIV/AIDS.

To help fight against the stigma surrounding STIs and STDs, MTV and Trojan teamed up to launch “How I Got an STD” earlier this summer.

The series, hosted by sexologist Shannon Boodram and YouTuber Josh Leyva, uses a sex positive platform to shed light on the taboo subject.

Boodram, who once tested positive for Chlamydia herself, feels that sharing personal experiences will help to educate and enlighten viewers on sexual health and safety. But, even as a sexologist, Boodram is no stranger to the stigma that follows. In an interview with Bustle, she talked about what it was like to open up in public about her personal experiences with an STD.

She says, “It’s a story that I didn’t think I’d ever share not because of how I felt about it but how I knew it would make others feel about me, but during the beginning conversations I had with Trojan and MTV my attitude somehow changed from ‘this could hurt me’ to ‘this WILL help others’. But even with that thought, omg I felt so so exposed and judged!”

It’s great she’s taking the first steps towards openness and awareness on the subject, because it’s a  prevalent one in our world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 20 million new STD diagnosis every year in the United States. Of those new cases, half are found in people between the ages of 15-24. As Boodram notes in her video, that’s one in four teens a year.

Even more troublesome is the fact that less than half of the adults from ages 18-44 are getting tested for anything other than HIV/AIDS, which leaves a whole host of STDs and STIs going undetected.


Although it isn’t easy for anyone to talk about STDs and STIs, the narrative is necessary to help end the stigma. Talk to your partner, talk to your health providers, be safe, and above all: GET TESTED.

We’re glad Boodram is being so brave and opening up about her own experiences. Hopefully this series will be the beginning of a really healthy narrative about our bodies and sex.

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