Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Sexually Transmitted Infection Is Not Something You Want To Fool Around With!

Dear Tazi:

For the past few months, I have been having pain in my [scrotum]. I have no health insurance, in spite of the new healthcare law, so I put off going to the doctor until I couldn't take the pain anymore. That is when I found out I have gonorrhea. I am bisexual, but know that you don't get gonorrhea from entering in the back door, if you know what I am saying, which is why I am positive that it was my most recent ex-girlfriend that gave it to me.

I called "Joan" to ream her out for giving me the clap; she freaked out on me, denying that she gave it to me because she does not have it and flipped out on me for "exposing" her to an STD. My doctor had to report my case to the state Department of Health, so now my name is on a list somewhere of people who are infected. I don't think it is fair that my ex gets off for free and I am stuck with a large medical bill and a mark against my name.

Do you know if I can legally force Joan to show me her medical records, proving whether or not she gave me gonorrhea (and is therefore legally responsible for my medical bills, pain and suffering, and punitive damages) or if she has even been tested in the first place? She claimed that she went for her annual visit to the gynecologist a few weeks ago and that all of her tests - including the mandatory STD testing - all came back negative; but I think she is lying to me. We last slept together six months ago, so it could be that she just doesn't have symptoms yet.

Hurting Down Below

Dear Hurting Down Below:

I would like to correct you of a few misconceptions you seem to be living with: first, it is entirely possible to catch gonorrhea through anal intercourse, so there is a good chance that you caught your STD from your male lover(s). Second, when you choose to partake in sexual intercourse you choose to take on the risks that accompany your decision - including the possibility of catching an STI - sexually transmitted infection, which is the proper term. Therefore, you probably do not have the right to sue her for pain and suffering and punitive damages; however, you may want to check the laws in your state.

Whereas a few states have laws that require you to inform a sexual partner that you have an STI, many people do not know that they have one until they start experiencing symptoms. For women, symptoms generally appear within a week; for men it can take as long as a month for symptoms to appear, if symptoms appear at all. Considering that you and Joan had not had intercourse with each other for several months prior to your diagnosis, and that Joan's annual medical workup came back clean I feel comfortable believing her side of the story - that she does not have gonorrhea.

As for forcing Joan to reveal her medical records, you have no legal right to do this. If Joan had been treated for gonorrhea her case would have had to be reported to the state Department of Health as well - not to put a mark against her name, but to work backwards through her sexual history so all of her previous partners could be contacted and tested. There is a good chance that Joan's recent visit to the gynecologist was prompted by a call from the Department of Health, or it could just be a coincidence that her annual exam was scheduled for this time. Regardless, the Department of Health would have contacted her about getting tested, just as they would have contacted you if Joan had been the one to test positive for gonorrhea.

I think you should chalk this incident up to experience, and learn a valuable lesson in the process: always wear protection when you are engaging in intercourse with someone of an unknown sexual history. For more information on gonorrhea, its symptoms, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Safe Snuggles,

P.S. Most states and large metropolitan areas have health clinics that will treat gonorrhea - and other STI's - for free.

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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