To The Woman Who Announced Her STI on Snapchat

STD Snap Chat

I learned about you when I Googled myself—as a narcissist is wont to do—and discovered I’d been mentioned in an article about you on the Daily Star. I’m not entirely sure why my efforts to destigmatize herpes were mentioned in the article, which was a masterpiece of stigmatizing, sensationalized journalism that in no way respected your humanity. Perhaps it was a nod to the morality they were chucking out the window in favor of page views. Either way, your story stuck with me once my initial “ethics in herpes journalism” rage passed.

You’re my fucking hero.

Your notification technique is, obviously, bold. “Should I text the people I’ve slept with that I’ve been diagnosed with gonorrhea?” you asked yourself while looking over your test results. “No. I shall Snapchat them all. I shall Snapchat everyone I know.” Perhaps you weighed the risk of someone screen-shotting your snap and putting it online but decided you gave no fucks about the possibility. Perhaps you made the decision in an impulsive refusal to be ashamed of something that happens to all of us at some point or another. Your motivation is none of my business, and I am sorry the snaps have been made public and aggregated by the click-hungry online media world. But I applaud you. Can you hear me applauding you? It is two am on a Friday night in Brooklyn and I am applauding you so fucking hard.

STD Snap Chat

Telling the people you’ve slept with that you have an STI and that they need to get tested is scary, embarrassing, and occasionally dangerous (some of us have exes we would rather witness smoldering in a gutter than talk to ever again). I never thought about Snapchat as an oddly perfect medium for this conversation: you know for a fact that someone has received your message when you send them the snap directly. You’ll even know when they opened it, in case you want to send them a follow-up text with further details. Sure, Snapchat doesn’t allow for much nuance. But when it comes to Gonorrhea, easily cured when swiftly diagnosed, what nuance is truly necessary? What more is there to say other than go get tested?

Fear is for the weak, and you, my mystery Snapchat maven, are not weak. You are unapologetic and use emoji like a pro. You include ‘xx’ kisses and don’t care who knows how many people you’ve boned. You do the right thing and notify your sexual partners that they need to get tested, and you do it your way. And for that, my regal clap queen, I salute you.

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Ella Dawson is a sex and culture critic and a digital strategist. She drinks too much Diet Coke.

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