The episode explores Jenelle’s experience living with STI, and how that has interacted with her life, relationships and work. Through her story, she attempts to break the stigma surrounding it and make people come to the realisation that it is not a horror.
Jenelle found out that she had STI (herpes) when 16, a sexually active teen. From feeling terrified when she experienced her first outbreak to running an organisation to challenge the notions and discussions around STIs, Jenelle has come a long way.
Recounting her experience when she found out that she had herpes, there are many things to notice. Firstly, her doctor told her that not only does she have an STI, which is horrible and everything, but it is the worst possible case that the doctor had ever seen. She was given no resources, no reassurances, and just added to her confusion and agony.
Though her mom reassured her and she got some relief, the majority of that experience was shame, shame and shame. This also led to the breakdowns of many friendships and close connections.
This is what gave her the motivation to start the STI Project: a space that helps people with STIs to reclaim their lives.
About Jenelle Marie Pierce
Jenelle Marie Pierce is the Executive Director of The STI Project: Breaking the Stigma®, an Adjunct Professor, and a Spokesperson for PositiveSingles.com. As an STI+ Sexual Health Educator and content creator, Jenelle has been dismantling stigma by reclaiming STI narratives® through awareness, education, and acceptance since 2012.
Jenelle also tri-chairs the Communications Action Group for the National Coalition for Sexual Health (NCSH), and she is a member of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT), the International Union Against Sexually Transmitted Diseases (IUASTD), the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association (ASTDA), the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR), the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), and The Intermountain West HPV Vaccination Coalition.
Jenelle’s work has been featured in popular TV, radio, and print outlets such as: The Washington Post, CNN, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Jezebel, Forbes, HuffPost Live, NPR, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, Refinery 29, The Daily Mail, Bustle, and many more. Current bylines can be found in Ovee, SELF, HepatitisC.net, Kinkly, PornHub’s Sexual Wellness Center, and Allure.
Get in touch with her:
Facebook: The STI Project (https://www.facebook.com/thestiproject/)
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