Me #24, the one with the sexual infection

This is rather a different post from the previous ones (provided that someone is reading them all and would notice) but in someway strictly related.

Weeks ago I read this news about Zuckerberg and his wife having a baby and talking openly about previous miscarriages: the whole point was that it can be very helpful and reassuring to share bad experiences, because they simply happen and everybody have to deal with them and if you know that other people are living every day the same experience as you are, it may you feel stronger.

We prefer to share things that make us look brilliant or cool or clever but never dumb or embarrassed or suffering. There is nothing wrong in having a very bad moment, even if you have caused it and you are the only one to blame: it doesn’t mean that you can’t be cool in other moments.

So, that’s what happened to me last year.

One day, out of nothing, my penis started to ache: I didn’t have any difficulty to pee, but my skin and particularly the glans were bruised. I was worried obviously and in a very bad mood, because when you have something wrong down there you feel so incredibly weak.

I went to a general practitioner (that I have free every month in my company) and he suggested me to use a specific cleanser (which smelled bad and was not pleasant against the “abrasions”) and a cream. I did it for 4 days and nothing happened, on the contrary it hurt more and more and I started feel uncomfortable even when sitting, not to mention walking.

I decided to go to the dermatologic first aid – it is worth mentioning that in that period I was not in London, but in my own country, where we have such specific first aid – and they told me that what I was taking was useless: it could be genital herpes (damn!), and that I need a blood test, included HIV and syphilis.

I went to collect the exam, which in my country is free for everybody, a couple of days later.

It was morning, it was the waiting room for sexual infection exams  and all the people around me were mostly from abroad, scared and kind of lonely, apart from one guy from South America with a lovely mother.

The doctor told me that it was not herpes (good!), I was negative to HIV (happy me), but I had a slight positivity to syphilis. He asked me if I had any unprotected sex in the last 30 days and I said an oral intercourse with someone I didn’t know. He took a swab from my penis, which was not painful, but impressed me a bit, since he had to take an abrasion between his fingers and push it a little. He analyzed it immediately and told me that I had syphilis.

That scared me a lot. I mean a lot. I had never heard of someone with syphilis (maybe I know people, but they never shared the experience), I had not idea what was going to happen to me, which was the cure if there would be any, if like AIDS it is something you have for life and get worse and worse. I admit I also thought of Toulouse Lautrec going mad and dying.

The doctor was really reassuring and went straight to the point: he told that it was not a big deal, the cure for syphilis is still penicillin (which is a fungi, it always strikes me), you just need a couple of shots and you are immediately healed. He told me to take an antibiotics for 3 days before the shots, in order to prevent some fever that may occur after that.

The nurse who finally made me the shots told me how lucky I was to do it these days, considering that up to some years ago they were very dense and ached so badly that some people cried between the first and the second. I had my two shot, they ached a little and I felt a slightly painful sensation for a couple of hours (I was by bicycle, bad mistake!). After that the doctor told me: from now you are healed. Which sounded so easy and good. Rightly he told me about the risks of casual sex and the importance of protections, even for oral sex.

The abrasions went away quickly (starting from the antibiotics) and I got tested again after 3 months to confirm that I was ok.

In 10 days I had been passing through worries, pain, scare, guilt, knowledge. Not the easiest days of my life, but they taught me something:

  • every now and then be tested also for syphilis, it is not so rare and it seems it is increasing particularly among young people
  • in some countries the is free, but it doesn’t matter anyway, do it
  • it is easy to spot syphilis and the sooner you know it the sooner you get rid of it
  • you get rid of it the same day the doctor gives you penicillin (a fungi!)
  • you may get infected even with oral sex, obviously it is less common, it is bad luck, but bad luck happens
  • my guess is that I got it from a blowjob to an American guy who was in an 4 stars hotel in London, he seemed alright, he didn’t even come in my mouth, but still
  • you have the moral duty to alert every partner you had sex with in the last month or so (it depends if you can say when you got it and the progression of it): they both were ok. Good luck happens as well.
  • You are immediately healed, but you do not become immune: you may have it again any other time like any other person. Bad luck and good luck may happen again.


I may have forgotten to say something relevant, so if someone has any questions, just shout.

When I was looking for info on Google, I found medical websites, which were obviously very good, but they also described some scary effects that freaked me out; I believe it may be reassuring to read about a straightforward experience as it happened.

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