S3 Ep7: Breaking Down STI Stigma with Dr. Ina Park & Courtney Brame

CW: Suicide, Suicidal Ideation 

Courtney Brame, the founder of Something Positive for Positive People (SPFPP), sits down with guest-host Dr. Ina Park to discuss the ongoing need to foster spaces that destigmatize STI diagnoses. In the ninth year of his herpes (HSV-2) diagnosis, Courtney speaks on navigating life with the virus and what drove him to connect with people struggling with mental health issues as a result of their herpes status. What started as informally providing solidarity to those living with herpes, quickly became a podcast and platform for sharing the experiences of those battling societal stigma and self-shaming, creating pathways to disclosing their status and tools that can make waiting for a vaccine more manageable.

Courtney says that “sexual health is mental health.” He hopes to expand the mental health resources available to those living with herpes and use the collective stories of the SPFPP community to inform health care practices, especially the delivery of an HSV diagnosis. Courtney engages those living with a positive diagnosis and their allies to transform the stigma that often works to silence them.

Download the transcript of this episode.

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Donate to Something Positive for Positive People
SPFPP website
SPFPP podcast
HSV Survey results mentioned
Dr. Ina Park’s Instagram, twitter, and website
Strange Bedfellows by Dr. Park
Penny for your thoughts campaign

Courtney Brame (he/him) is the founder of Something Positive for Positive People, a 501c3 nonprofit organization highlighting the intersections of sexual health and mental health stigma. After discovering that many people diagnosed with herpes struggled with suicide ideation, Brame decided to interview those living with herpes and share their stories with other folks navigating herpes stigma. Something Positive for Positive People also works to give health care professionals tools they can use to provide anti-stigmatizing, identity validating, sex-positive health care. Courtney also hosts a podcast, called Something Positive for Positive People, where you can hear these stories and experiences directly.