The New York TimesThe New York Times

Why Sexually Transmitted Infections Can’t Shake Their Stigma

By Jen Gunter

13 Aug 2019 · 5 min read

As an obstetrician and gynecologist, I get a lot of panicked calls and direct messages on social media — sometimes from acquaintances, sometimes from complete strangers — about gynecological matters. Pap smear results, missed periods and hot flashes are my bread and butter. Also common: abortion complications, lost condoms and misadventures with food.

I think people contact me directly because they don’t have access to health care, because they are embarrassed and think (erroneously) they are the only ones to experience such a misadventure, because they worry their providers will be judgmental (sadly, this is not uncommon), because there is so much misinformation online that it is hard to separate the good from the bad, or simply because they’re really scared and it’s 3 a.m. and just maybe I’ll answer.

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