Just*in Time: October 2015

by Justin B. Terry-Smith

[dropcap]H[/dropcap]ey Justin—

Can I ask you something about STDs? I’m from Turkey so my English isn’t so good.

That can lead to death right? Sorry 4 asking. I’m just so scared about that thing. Please message me back as soon as u read my message. Thanks.

Photo by Don Harris © Don Harris Photographics, LLC. All rights reserved.
Photo by Don Harris © Don Harris Photographics, LLC. All rights reserved.

Thank you for your question. Well, I would need to know what STD you are talking about. (Also we are trying to not say STD anymore we try to use STI or sexually transmitted infection, as this helps decrease stigma for people who live with STIs every day.)

Now, let’s start with early detection; early detection is paramount when dealing with any STI. The earlier that you find out that you have an STI the more options you will have to deal with the STI itself. Any STI that you let linger inside your body will only get worse. Most STIs have cures but some only have options to suppress the STI.

Here is a list of curable STIs: chancroid, chlamydia, crabs, gonorrhea, scabies, syphilis, trichomoniasis, yeast infection, vaginosis, and yeast in men.

Here is a list of incurable STIs, but I will go into more detail about them.

Hepatitis can be very tricky, because there are five types and they are hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E; some are curable and some are not. Presently, there is no cure for hepatitis A, B, or D, though there is a vaccine for hepatitis A and B. There are new drugs that cure hepatitis C that been shown to cure hepatitis C at an effective rate of ninety-five percent. Hepatitis directly affects and damages the liver. There is no cure for HIV/AIDS. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS, but with medication can be suppressed to the point where someone can live just as long as someone without HIV. HPV/Warts, which is an infection on the genitalia and a women’s cervix, are also cureless. Herpes is a common disease that can present itself in the mouth (cold sore), anus, vagina, and/or penis. Herpes presents itself as a blister on the regions of the body listed above.

Whether or not a STI is curable or incurable, the important thing to remember that it is you who has control over what you do next. I have friends who are co-infected with hepatitis and HIV, and who continue to live long healthy lives. But to live a long healthy life one must make certain provisions to one’s own lifestyle. I’ve been living with HIV for ten years and I have made provisions but I also fall short in some of them. When I was diagnosed with HIV nine years ago, I was a wreck, I did drugs and drank entirely too much. I decided to make a change. I started running three miles regularly and working out when I could find the time. I also changed my eating habits. Since the medication I was on made my cholesterol increase I needed to change my diet. So I don’t eat pork as much and I decrease my egg intake. I started eating more and more fruit and started shopping for more low fat and low sodium foods. I may not be the epitome of good health, but I push onwards and upwards.

Having an incurable STI is hard, but it doesn’t mean you should give up. Once you are defeated in the mind, your body will follow and falter. It’s not the end of the world, but it is another reason why you should live your life healthier than before. There are incurable diseases in the world and some we may not even know about yet; and on that note, I will leave you with these famous words by Nobel Prize-winning biologist Joshua Lederberg: “The single biggest threat to man’s continued dominance on this planet is the virus.”


Justin B. Terry-Smith, MPH, has been fighting the good fight since 1999. He’s garnered recognition and awards for his work, but he’s more concerned about looking for new ways to transform society for the better than resting on his laurels. He started up in gay rights and HIV activism in 2005, published an HIV-themed children’s book, I Have A Secret (Creative House Press) in 2011, and created his own award-winning video blog called, “Justin’s HIV Journal”: justinshivjournal.blogspot.com. Presently, he is working toward his doctorate in public health. Visit his main Web site at www.justinbsmith.com. He welcomes your questions at [email protected].

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