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 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

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