How To Get a Cool STD

by Rachel on February 18, 2010

You guys know that I like to be up on everything up to the minute and sexually transmitted diseases are no exception. If you don’t protect yourself and are planning to be one of the 16 million new cases diagnosed in this new year, but you still want an STD that screams “I’m trendy!!!” then you better take some notes.

What’s In

HPV/Genital Warts. It’s the must-have STD for the person who takes fitting in very seriously. It’s an epidemic among college-age adults, so if you’re trendy because you’re wearing the same jacket, boots, and Blackberry as every girl on campus, this is probably the STD for you. It’s the one most of your friends (about 6 million or so) are going to have. If you spot what looks like cauliflower growing on your nether regions, pat yourself on the back, cause now you’re in with the cool kids! A word of caution: this virus can lead to infertility in women. Hey, what’s worse? Losing your childbearing potential or being so last season?

Chlamydia. You know how every clique of hot girls has the ugly one who hangs out with them? She’s sort of athletic and brutish looking, popular cause her older brother is, and is a total drunkass; when she rolls into a party with all the hot girls, you wonder why they hang out with her. Everyone thinks she’s cool, but no one can figure out why? Yeah…chlamydia is that friend. It usually hangs out with super popular Gonorrhea and is actually more popular, but just doesn’t come to mind when it comes to Homecoming Queen elections. Chlamydia is spreading its love to about 3 million this year, so learn her name now. She’s curable, but only if you know she’s there — which you may not, because she’s often symptomless. She can zap your fertility, but if you’re the kind of girl who wears stilettos in the snow in the name of fashion, I think you’ve got what it takes.

Trichomoniasis. You heard it here first. Trich is going to lead the pack this year in STDs. Making an appearance on every red carpet and hot party in town, it’s going to infect about 8 million people this year. It’s one of the most STD in women, so it’s a good one to have; a round of antibiotics will cure it quickly and it doesn’t do as much damage as some of the others. Having Trich tells people that you’re on the cutting edge — you walked down the street wearing huge sunglasses and carrying Starbucks before Mary-Kate Olsen ever did! — and you take risks. You’ll know you’ve got the hottest STD in town when you feel itchy and inflamed, have a nasty discharge, and smell foul. But you’ll still be popular and that burning sensation will go away…hopefully before the hot jock BF finds out about it!

What’s Out

Genital Herpes. Easily spread and contracted, genital herpes is so 2004. It only hit 1 million of us last year, so it’s not going to make you feel cool. Even less cool: it’s treatable, but not curable. It hangs on it your nervous system and then you periodically break out in blisters all over your crotch. At this point, the iPod or our moms getting herpes is like our moms getting on Facebook. It’s way past trendy and now just borderlines on lame. And P.S. Herpes is spread easily through oral sex so all you “virgins” out there who aren’t having “real” sex, please be smart. A virgin with herpes is a sad sight indeed.

Syphillis. Sooooo mid-20th century. However, if you’re a dirty hipster who only buys vintage clothes (or overpriced pretend-vintage clothes) and listens to your parents’ old records, go ahead and get the syph. It’s curable, and, because it’s rare, you just might be able to pull it off by calling it “ironic.”

Bacterial Vaginosis. BV has symptoms and treatment similar to chlamydia and gonorrhea, but just doesn’t shout “I’m having multiple orgasms with multiple partners!” like you want it to. Some docs call it an STD, some don’t. It’s more washed up than the cast of “Dancing With the Stars.” Stay away from this D-lister. When it comes to STDs, at least try get it from some hot S, not a dirty toilet seat.

HIV/AIDS. HIV has experienced a definite Britney Spears style fall from grace. Once front page news, now it’s just sad. But just like the producers who let Brit take the stage at the VMAs year after year, some of us believe a comeback is always possible. Still, who wants to get the comeback kid STD, especially one that will kill you? If you don’t fuck around when it comes to trends, then by all means, go for it. But I say leave HIV to the characters in “Rent,” and go out get something fun and curable, like the ones listed above.

There you have it. The Hot List. I was also going to list the hottest condoms, but then I realized that would prevent this list from being necessary, and I like this one much better.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 S. Abel February 18, 2010 at 8:28 am

I just don’t find this to be funny. Maybe I am too old or it is just too early to read this but I just don’t see the fun with the sarcasm (which I hope this is) and it just doesn’t make sense. You say, “But I say leave HIV to the characters in “Rent”, and go out and get something fun and curable, like the ones listed above.” HPV is not curable, it is a lifelong virus and it can cause cancer. I just wish you would have enlightened your readers about the vaccines that are available and how to protect yourself from getting a STD, rather than being witty and edgy with a dose of sarcasm. I have admired your insight and progress on your blog and you look amazing but this post is a bit much for me.


2 Triz February 18, 2010 at 10:38 am

HPV is only very rarely lifelong. Most HPV infections go away by themselves over a couple of years. Perhaps you should read a little before criticizing Rachel. Since this is both (snarkily! :) ) entertaining and informed, I’m sure a lot of people will not only read it but will think hard and practically about its content afterwards, which I imagine was Rachel’s goal.


3 S. Abel February 18, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Triz – I have read about HPV and I disagree with your statement that HPV is only very rarely lifelong. I am not trying to have a debate with you I just felt that it would be beneficial if there were some facts associated with the post.
I enjoy Rachel’ blog and all the knowledge she shares from her experience. As I said in my post, maybe I am too old to appreciate this post or maybe it is because I know too many women who have had to deal with cervical cancer because of this virus. HPV often has no signs or symptoms. Here is a site that has some great information about HPV. “Every day 30 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer.”


4 Rachel February 18, 2010 at 3:31 pm


Since the title of my blog includes the word “getting it,” I am generally hesitant to get into a public debate with those who don’t seem to. However, I would like to address your comment about the HPV vaccine.

The reason I didn’t write about the vaccine is because my readers likely already know about it. If they are anything like me, they probably know many things from personal experience…

1. That it costs hundreds of dollars and it’s not covered by their insurance. Personally, I got PISSED every time an “expert” told me that I needed to get something that I simply couldn’t afford or I’d die. Great. Awesome.
2. Had I decided to write about it anyway, I suppose I could have written about how, due to an insurance debacle, I had to fly from NYC to MI with a vial of Gardasil in my carry-on (packed in ice, security’s favorite), only to miss the third dose — which a Pharm friend told me was never proven effective — due to lack of funds and seriously questioning the efficacy of the first two shots.
3. I could have gone on about the efficacy thing, but I know my readers already know this — like the one who messaged me today to let me know that she got HPV after getting the vaccine. All I can say is, I hope her insurance covered it.
4. It’s likely my readers also know that its safety is being questioned. Had I written about it, I’m sure I would have gotten an equally unhappy comment from the reader who e-mailed me this morning to tell me that she was in the percentage of people who gets seriously ill from the vaccine.
5. I think that recommending a new prescription drug to a large group of people is pretty risky business. I am an advocate for women’s health, but I also fear for women’s health because I don’t always trust modern medicine, the FDA, and drug companies. Twenty years ago, I may have been blogging about the wonders of the drug Phen-Fen — and we all know how well that worked out. If you need a doctor’s prescription for something, it might be because you need to have a conversation with your doctor.
6. If you believe that my post would encourage people to go out and have unprotected sex due to the fact that I said these STDs are “fun and curable,” you’re making a similar argument to policy makers who promote abstinence-only sex education. Knowing an STD is curable isn’t going to make people have unprotected sex any more than knowing Plan B is available. However, I give my readers enough credit to know that they’re probably not going to say, “Hey, honey, put away that Trojan tonight. Rachel from Shedding It made Trich sound like a real blast!” To me, the phrase “foul-smelling discharge” does not send a message of, “But, hey, just take an antibiotic!” and I give my readers enough credit to make that distinction.
7. My readers are not a bunch of tweens in their first Sex Ed class. This post was intended as a friendly reminder to a group of women who have, at this point, either had an STD or known someone who has. The point was to remind them that STDs are popular, easily spread, sometimes don’t show symptoms, and that they can happen to you.

And if you think that I’m young and foolish and assume it’s because I haven’t watched anyone die as the result of an STD, you are mistaken; I have. But the fact is, people are still getting sick and dying. Something isn’t working. With that in mind, I believe it’s time to find a new way to talk about diseases.


5 Dori February 18, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Eloquent and intelligent response, Rachel.


6 Kristen February 18, 2010 at 4:39 pm

you took a risk…you made “fun” of std’s! i made fun of lent on my site yesterday. let the catholics and hardcore public health advocates unite against us! i LOLed my way through, ps.


7 S. Abel February 18, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Rachel, I appreciate your response, it is great information. I guess I just wish the response info was in your original post. It is your blog and I don’t think that I think your readers are a bunch of tweens nor in their first sex ed class. I do get it and in no way did I mean to imply that a vaccine was the answer nor am I Catholic or hardcore public health advocate. I am just a female (40ish) who had cervical cancer from HPV (so that was what, 20 years ago). And so I guess you have found a new way to talk about diseases…..


8 Christie October 17, 2010 at 12:43 am

I once dated a guy who told me he was “allergic” to plastic, so because I was on birth control we didn’t need to use condoms. And he had gotten tested and was cleared. But you know what? HPV- theres not really a test for men, is there? And guess what I got! Yep, you guessed it! HPV! YAY everybody party!

I didn’t find out until a year after I had broken up with said ex, and I was already dating the man who is now my husband. Future-hubby and I were in the first few months of our relationship- he was a virgin and I well wasnt. It was then I found out that I had HPV and cervical dysplasia, which I was told was like “pre-cervical cancer” Interesting. Not only did I have to break it to my parents, but also to my wonderful, sweet, loving man who I was SURE was going to drop me like a sack of rocks . Anyway, a costly procedure was done to remove a good chunk of my cervix (stack up three quarters, and thats what they took out) and I was left with telling Mr Wonderful Ex the news. In which I got an angry response about what a dirty slut I was and how much of a whore blah blah (even though he was my first hahaha)

I am now immune to it! So I didn’t have to get the vaccine because I had, apparently, vaccinated myself. Exciting!


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