True Life: My Husband Gave Me an STD

It was a typical fall afternoon, and I was playing with my kids. The phone rang, and I was surprised to see my OB/GYN on the caller ID.

“Ma’am? Your pap smear results came back with some abnormalities. You tested positive for gonorrhea.”

As a 30-something mother of two who has been married for almost 10 years, I was floored by this information. I had gone to the doctor for what I thought was a yeast infection and never considered that I could possibly have a sexually transmitted disease instead. After all, I was faithful to my husband and a virgin when we got married. I didn’t even really know what gonorrhea is.

I scheduled a follow-up appointment, where I learned the following information:

  • Gonorrhea can’t lay dormant for years like some other STDs.
  • The incubation period is generally less than 14 days, meaning symptoms appear within two weeks of contracting it.
  • Gonorrhea can be treated with very strong antibiotics. However, some antibiotic-resistant strains are developing that are difficult to treat.
  • You can’t catch gonorrhea from sharing a bathing suit, using a public toilet, or any other strange scenario involving your genitalia—just oral, anal, or vaginal sex.

I added this information to what I already knew, namely that I’d only had sex with one person, and that one person had been traveling for work on and off the last 14 days. I drew the conclusion that any sane person would: my husband had given me gonorrhea.


I can’t describe the overwhelming feelings that came over me during the doctor’s appointment and subsequent trip to the pharmacy to fill a prescription for very strong antibiotics: the shame of having my doctor tell me that I had an STD, and the anger when I realized that my husband had given it to me. I felt embarrassed when I admitted that it had to have come from him and asked to be tested for all other STDs. I felt afraid—that he could have exposed me to something even worse, and that he had fallen in love with someone else. I mostly felt disbelief.

If, 10 years ago, you had asked me what would happen if my husband gave me an STD, I’m sure I would have told you that I would kick him in the testicles, set his car on fire, or something similar. I was surprised when the time came and I didn’t do any of those things. Instead, I choked back tears and explained to my husband that he needed to be tested and treated, and that I would appreciate his honesty in explaining how WE contracted gonorrhea.

I almost wish he would have broken down and admitted to an affair, but he didn’t. He acted just as confused as I was, and despite the overwhelming evidence to suggest otherwise, he swore that he must have picked it up in a gross hotel bathroom or from a college girlfriend. We spent months going over what could have potentially happened and always arrived at the same conclusion: it’s a mystery.

Am I naive? Maybe. Is it likely that he had an affair and won’t admit it? Probably.

But I’m not willing to break up my family over something I can’t prove.

With God’s help, the STD is not something I think about daily anymore, and I have chosen to focus on the present and future of my marriage rather than the past. My best advice for wives: ask for STD tests during your yearly pap smear, even if you never think you’d contract one, and realize that what may seem like a black-and-white issue in your marriage may have varying shades of gray.

Alamo City Moms
Alamo City Moms is written by a collaborative and diverse group of mothers. We strive to provide moms with relevant, timely and fun information about all things mom here in the greater San Antonio area.


  1. Consider getting tested again to double-check*. Lab errors are estimated to occur for up to 20% of results.
    *Unless you have already taken the antibiotics

  2. I had this exact situation with my husband. Didn’t doubt him for a second but we were soooo confused. Had we had chlamydia for years? Being stubborn, I forced my doctor to retest despite his objections. It came back negative, which was exactly what I suspected. We also had friends this happened to, but their marriage wasn’t as strong and it caused major issues before they figured out it was a false positive.

    It’s too late for the author, but if this is something that could break up a marriage please make the doc retest. I’m so glad we did because it would have always been this little sliver of doubt for each of us.

  3. I’ve been where you’ve been. Aside from the obvious danger of being infected with something that might actually kill you next time leaving your children motherless and you dead (If he’s contracted this std, then he’s not practicing safe sex, right?), the next biggest harm is psychological. I don’t mean the sadness and feeling of betrayal (which you can overcome) but the fact that he’s gaslighting you. Have you ever heard the expression? I was gaslighted for years. Gaslighting is probably one of the most harmful, horrible things a person can experience. It is a form of mental abuse. Your husband acting “confused” makes you then doubt what you have seen with your own eyes. It’s more than just being disrespectful. His acting like he got this disease from a dirty room, even though you both know that it’s not true is a form of gaslighting. I bet he’s done this to you before (not the STD thing but something similar) and has gotten away with it. He’s not showing remorse. He’s trying to make you believe that which you know to be true, that which you have seen for yourself. If for NO other reason, get out while you still have some ego structures left. Once you’ve been gaslighted over time, it’s hard to discern reality from fiction. Look it up. I wish I had seen it before this mental abuse caused me financial ruin and enormous emotional and physical damage from which, seven years later, I have still not recovered.

    • I meant to say, “He’s trying to make you believe that which you know NOT to be true, that which you have seen for yourself.”

  4. I also tested positive for the same STD when I went in for my first OB appt with my second child.

    I felt the same emotions. I was faithful and my husband worked long hours. It could only mean one thing, right?

    My husband also was confused and swore that it wasn’t possible. While we set up an appointment for him, I went to my follow up appointment. Took the high dose Meds (that posed risk to my unborn child) and asked for a second test.

    The Dr. Said that it was highly unlikely to get a false positive, but they would retest.

    The second test was NEGATIVE. The lab had made a mistake and given me the wrong results.

    My husband was not unfaithful. It was a lab error.

    It’s possible that the same thing happened to you.

    Good luck and thank you for sharing your story! My prayers are with you and your family!

    Elisabeth Hunter
    Contributor for Austin Moms Blog

  5. no no no???
    Please don’t encourage the general public to allow this type of disrespectful behavior in their marriage. Yes, infidelity can be worked through and some couples come out stronger than ever before. However, the only way to grow through infidelity is through truth, sincere remorse, and for both parties to have all the information. By ignoring your husbands actions, you just gave him permission to continue his affairs outside of the marriage and worse, you validate his disgusting actions by playing dumb right along with him. I really hope you wake up before it’s too late.

  6. your husband cheated on you- how can you think any different.
    You have clearly researched it and know he could not have gotten it from anywhere other than oral, anal, or vaginal contact. You are exposing you children and you to further diseases. If you contract HIV are you still going to be this naive? That was not the first or the last time he will cheat on you and your family.
    I hope for your sake whatever he gives you next can be treated.

  7. I am so sorry you had to go through that. No, you are NOT gullible, naive, stupid, ignorant, or crazy.

    You are strong, faithful, beautiful, forgiving, and kind.

    Your husband will always be the father of your children, and that relationship should be cherished. However, in this moment, he is undeserving of your strength, beauty, and loyalty.

    I hope he can admit the truth, so that you both can heal and repair the relationship.

    I don’t know what I would do if my husband, my best friend, father of my child — the one who I share everything with, even crushes and fantasies — the one I’ve made promises with to always be honest about any infidelity — denied an infidelity like that. I’d be devastated and always wondering what happened.

    I admire your strength and hope that all works out for your family!

  8. I am so sorry this happened to you. I understand and sympathize with your desire to make your marriage work. I make the following comment not to judge, but only to help: Can’t you prove his infidelity? If you only had sex with him, and you didn’t have an STD at your last pap (the one before the pap that came out positive), or if you didn’t have an STD with the birth of your children, then doesn’t that mean he slept with someone else while he was married to you? It’s also loving to hold the one you love accountable when they are doing wrong.

  9. Honey I am so sorry you have to go through this. And I realize it is tough because he is your world and your family. But I see this stuff everyday and you need to make him be accountable for his actions and you need to protect yourself. STD screen lets you know when you have something not prevent you from getting it. You are lucky he got something that was treatable. There are many that are not treatable and can cause you a lot of pain and issues. Please pray about what to do able this situation because unfortunately it is not done.

  10. I can’t help but shake my head as I read this. You CAN prove his infidelity. You have the disease to prove it. I can, sort of, understand your choice to work through this to save your marriage for your children. Except for the fact that not only did he cheat, he is continuing to lie to you about it. He did not admit infidelity and beg your forgiveness. He denied it and you allowed him to shove it under the rug. True reconciliation will only come with honesty and your husband doesn’t even love or respect you enough to give you that.

    I am sorry for you, and the example you are setting for your children. Are any of them girls? How would you feel if this happened to one of them? I hope and pray that he doesn’t bring home anything worse to you or that you begin insisting he use a condom. HIV still doesn’t have a cure and regular testing will just let you know if you have it, not prevent it.

  11. I don’t know what kind of man your husband is, but if no one else does, I applaud you for keeping your family together for the sake of your children. Is he a good dad? Are you best of friends? Is your home life good? If they are, then why destroy the relationship at this point. The reality is, if he made a mistake, hopefully this will scare him to death. If he is not an habitual cheater, it’s likely this will be the case. If he was, I just think you’d know by now. Don’t be jaded by the voices of women who are (rightfully) deeply hurt and embittered by shameless cheaters. That’s not necessarily your situation. Give it to God and pray for your husband. Pray for his salvation or his return to a focus on the Lord. Pray for him to engage with the right influences at work and socially. Pray for the Lord to bless and protect him. In so doing, you’ll bless your whole family.

    • Hate to say it – but that generalization is incredibly wrong. I’ve never been cheated on before, and am certainly NOT a jaded voice of someone who is bitter or deeply hurt.

      I can understand wanting to work on retaining a marriage. I can understand working together for the sake of the kids.

      BUT… let’s be real here. If he hasn’t been open and honest, then the only person is who is working to retain and empower their marriage is the wife in this circumstance. She’s choosing to keep her own head in the sand. Can’t necessarily blame her, as it’s not easy to come to terms with what must be a very ugly truth staring her in the face. Praying for God to bless and protect him isn’t going to protect her from some very scary diseases that are out there. It won’t protect him from accidentally impregnating someone outside of their marriage.

      And… if he’s not being 100% honest… how is he upholding those vows he made, under god?!

  12. I have been with a cheating husband. I tried to make it work through all the lies. I am now happily divorced. HAPPILY! I agree with other posters, he has disrespected you at least twice. He will do it again. He has no reason not to. You have let him slide on this. You are setting yourself up for more hurt, whether it is another STD or simply cheating, you deserve better. Divorce sucks, but get some money in order and start the process. You will be happier. You will no longer wonder about what he is doing and if he’s going to give you a more fatal STD.

  13. Wow. I totally agree with working through infidelity to save the family and the marriage. But agreeing that “it’s a mystery” is absolutely insane.

    Let’s hope he doesn’t make a poor choice again in the future.

  14. He endangered your life, you could have gotten something much worse! He could still be sleeping around so who knows what you will get next? And he must not think you are very smart for acting like he doesn’t know how he got it. That’s so disrespectful. I’m all for saving a marriage through infidelity, but you are kidding yourself if you think it is saved. He needs to take ownership of his actions and show remorse and willingness to change. Then the work to save it can begin, but you haven’t even started yet. You say you are not willing to break up your family over something you can’t prove. You have the proof already, your article lays it out well.

  15. My question is why would someone publish this out on the Internet. It comes across as a public service announcement to get tested for STDs every year even if you are married. That’s just not right. Marriage should be about trust and monogamy. I believe this woman is coming from a deeply hurting place and she’s trying to process this by sharing her grief. If that is the case, I give you hugs and a shoulder to cry on. It may be that she needs to hear from the public that her husband is lying. I know what it’s like to want to believe the lie, fortunately not with my husband. It can be so hard to face the truth with so many emotions blinding you. I hope at the very least she is getting marriage counseling and that the truth will eventually come out.

  16. I can’t with this. There is forgiveness and there is burying your head in the sand, and this is the latter. He gave you and STD and you’re just going to let him lie about the way this happened? No. Just no.

  17. This is crazy. I have no issue with people trying to save a marriage after infidelity. That’s not whats going on here at all though. The author said she won’t break up her family over something she can’t prove, but she got 100% irrefutable proof the day she was diagnosed with an std. There is only one possible way to get it, no matter how dumb her husband plays. Honestly, as bad as the infidelity is I almost feel like his refusal to admit any responsibility is the most disrespectful part of this whole situation. People make horrible mistakes sometimes. But a decent person would admit it and do whatever possible to make it right.
    The fact that hes had no consequences for his actions, and can live with the fact that he’s deceiving his whole family, makes it likely that he’ll continue to lie and cheat in the future. After all, his wife will believe anything. I only hope next time he doesn’t expose her to something worse.

  18. Sweeping his infidelity under the rug like this and not requiring him to admit what he did just gives him justification for continuing. I’m not saying the marriage has to end. But by “talking” his way out of this one, he took NO responsibility for his actions. He had unprotected sex recently with someone other than his wife and contracted an std…. And then walked away from the consequences unscathed and probably unwilling to change. …but this is just my opinion. Hopefully their family is able to move on from this and never have anything like this happen again.

  19. This woman is an ignorant lol. Of course he cheated on her. And it most likely wasn’t just once. And to not have the decency to wear a condom when sleeping with some strange prostitute is disgusting. He knows he can give aids, herpes, or worse to his wife. What if NEXT TIME he gives her herpes, then leaves her for the other woman. Then she’s single middle aged woman with two kids and herpes. Is she really gonna find another husband? She needs to wake up. Men lie lol.

Comments are closed.