Sexually Transmitted Disease
Coping With STDs
Sexually transmitted diseases have been a part of human life for centuries. We occasionally think our race will be free of them: through medicine, through abstinence, through luck. Nature, however, continues to provide bacteria, fungi and viruses to endanger our health. Learning to prevent STDs, and how to live with them if we’ve failed in our precautions, is the domain of the medical counselor specializing in sexual disease.
Areas of Counseling
- Understanding STDs
- Overcoming fear
- Safe sexual behavior
- Coping with STDs.
Know Your Enemy
The first thing a sexual counselor can do is help a learning teen or sexually active adult understand the nature of the various STDs. In many cases, a disease is contracted because someone knew too little about how diseases are transmitted, how they spread, and what they do once they’re present in the body.
A medically trained sexual counselor can provide detailed information, allowing both experienced and inexperienced patients to more accurately choose their behaviors and protect themselves and their partners.
Foolishness and Fear
Many people resist learning about STDs for reasons not dissimilar to the reasons people avoid diagnosis of a suspected disease. Emotionally humans tend to act as though ignorance is protection from consequence. Unfortunately, what you don’t know can hurt you. For the best possible life-outcomes, it’s better to commit to knowledge of STDs, their contagion, and their spread, than to ignore the knowledge and run risks in ignorance of the nature of the danger.
Better to be Safe
Whether you believe in abstinence, or in informed sexual activity, knowledge is an asset. To know which behaviors are comparatively safe, and which are high risk, can help potentially active youngsters and adults make better choices – and the choices they make are often to avoid risk in the first place. When they aren’t, the choices are at least often based on realistic assessments of risk, rather than on ignorance and crossed fingers.
A sex counselor can help teach in a safe, supportive, and non-judgmental environment, allowing people of all ages, genders, and gender preferences to study the realities of STDs and understand the nature of contagions – and the difficulty in coping with an STD once contracted.
Information after the Accident
Often, sexual counseling isn’t sought until after a patient has contracted an STD. While this isn’t ideal, a counselor can at least help teach coping with an STD, keeping it under control, and preventing further spread. Those lucky enough to have contracted an STD that can be cured can learn responsible sexual habits during the time they’re contagious, and understand better why they should be carried over after the cure. Those unfortunate enough to have contracted a life-long infection, or even a life-long life-threatening infection such as HIV, face a far more severe challenge: learning to have a sex life without being a vector for sexual disease.
At this point, a counselor’s full range of skills comes into play. The emotional cost of a serious, communicable, un-curable STD is enormous, and the capacity for doing damage on a broad scale similarly profound. Capable counselors can lead a patient through the stages of grief, and then, ultimately, help them find new ways of living after contracting an inescapable infection.
Finding a Professional Sex Counselor
In a world filled with “sex counselors” and “sex therapists” of limited training, questionable skill, and dubious ethics, how do you find one of the many honest, ethical and well prepared sexual therapists to deal with the issues that surround STDs?
The resources open to you are extensive. In a matter of this delicacy, using a professional referral service is a good start. Follow that up by researching individual practitioners, inquiring of their licensing boards for their professional record, checking with medical groups for their willingness to refer the professional in question