Episode 21: A Conversation About STIs and Disclosure with Janelle Marie Pierce

***Content / Trigger Warning, in this episode we discuss sensitive topics that may not be suitable for all audiences. Topics like sexual abuse, and physical abuse, including child sexual molestation. This may be an episode to skip, or use headphones for, if you have others around you that may not be prepared to listen.***

or today’s episode, I’m joined by Janelle Marie Pierce to talk about STI testing, Janelle’s shocking diagnosis story, and overcoming the fears around disclosure. Janelle also talks about opening a mutual dialogue around STIs, the importance of knowing your status, and hear Janelle’s words of wisdom for those going through similar experiences.

Let’s delve in!


In this Episode You’ll Learn:

  • [04:10] Janelle’s journey into this work.
  • [07:39] Janelle’s diagnosis process.
  • [13:39] What people should know about STIs and Herpes.
  • [22:48] Let’s talk about disclosure.
  • [29:47] Why transmission is more likely if you don’t know your status.
  • [31:50] How and when to bring this up.
  • [37:33] Janelle’s words of wisdom.



  • “Only 12% of sexually active people are getting tested for the STIs that you can be tested for.” [08:29]
  • “You may never actually know you were infected in the first place, and that is true for all STIs including Herpes.” [10:10]
  • “Most people are going to get an STI at some point in their lives. You are more likely to contract an STI than you are to not.” [16:25]
  • “For the vast majority of people, it’s a relatively benign infection.” [18:47]
  • “Your autonomy, your safety, your boundaries are just as important as whomever you are engaging in.” [27:50]
  • “People who don’t know and haven’t been diagnosed are more likely to transmit an infection than somebody who knows their status.” [29:36]
  • “How soon you tell somebody gets to be up to you.” [33:27]
  • “It’s okay to process and be where you’re at with this.” [37:40]
  • “Be your own best advocate.” [38:48]


Jenelle’s Bio

Janelle (she/her/hers) is the Executive Director of the STI Project, the Education Manager of HealthHIV, and the Spokesperson for Positive Singles. She is a certified sexuality educator, and she has been dismantling stigma by reclaiming STI narratives through awareness, education, and acceptance since 2012. Janelle is also the Tri-Chair of the Communications Action Group at the NCSH, a member of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT), the International Union Against Sexually Transmitted Diseases (IUASTD), the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association (ASTDA), the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR), and the Intermountain West HPV Vaccination Coalition.


Connect with Janelle Marie Pierce

Website:            thestiproject.com.

Instagram:          @thestiproject.

YouTube:           @thestiproject.

LinkedIn:            @jenellemarie.

Twitter:              @TheSTIProject.

Facebook:          @thestiproject.


Connect with Rachel Wright
Website: https://rachelwrightnyc.com
Instagram: @thewright_rachel
Twitter: @thewrightrachel



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