TikToker Chris Olsen recently shared that he had contracted chlamydia three times. It’s a surprising admission considering how few other social media influencers talk about sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
“So I had chlamydia three times,” Olsen said in a recently posted video, quickly adding, “End the stigma.
“The nurse [at the STI clinic], who I’ve seen before…said to me, “Oh, I haven’t seen you in a while,” he continued. “And I was like, ‘Yeah, it was kinda dry there.'”
Olsen said the nurse tried to connect him with his gay son. When Olsen later tracked him down on Instagram, he realized his son was the ex-boyfriend of a guy who ghosted Olsen last year. “The world is too small,” he wrote in the caption of his video.
The influencer also noted that the nurse called him later to tell him his chlamydia test came back negative. “Small victories! he says at the end of his video.
THIS WORLD IS TOO SMALL
? original sound – Chris Olsen
Olsen’s admission is particularly noteworthy given that the 25-year-old influencer has more than 9.6 million followers on TikTok. Her video has gotten around 8.2 million views as of Tuesday, January 24, 2023 – almost enough for every New Yorker to watch it once!
It is not surprising that a sexually active homosexual contracts an STI. Between 20% and 50% of Americans will contract an STI in their lifetime, according to the CDC and the Kaiser Family Foundation.
But, despite his similarities, it’s very rare for a queer man on social media to discuss contracting STIs, especially when he has as many followers as Olsen. This is because people still feel a lot of shame and stigma around STIs, as if they were moral punishments for “bad behavior” rather than just common diseases.
A friend compared STIs to colds and flus – illnesses you can get in a playground – except the adult playground is the bedroom and STIs affect your sex organs rather than your organs respiratory.
“We don’t shame people for getting a cold,” the friend said, “so why should we have gotten an STI?”
Jenelle Marie Pierce, Chair of the STI Project Board, said conversations about STIs tend to be “shrouded in a lot of apprehension, fear, ethics and morality”. That’s why she praised Olsen’s video and its use of conversational humor.
“What I love most about this video is the casual conversation that takes place between the influencer and the audience, which isn’t much different from a typical disclosure conversation,” Pierce said. “In some ways it’s serious, yes, but it can also be fun and empowering. It’s a dialogue where information is shared and decisions are made, and then hopefully have fun. What’s not to like about that, is there? »
Pierce said more people should be talking about chlamydia given that more than 1.8 million Americans got chlamydia in 2019. But “unsurprisingly, we don’t have many examples to cite,” a- she added, pointing out that celebrities are sometimes applauded or shamed. publicly discuss their own STIs.
As Olsen said, it’s time to “end the stigma.” Friendly conversations like hers can help normalize STIs, change people’s perceptions of them, and keep friends and communities healthy and informed, to hell with the stigma.