Clinical BlindspotsTM: STIs and Sexual Shame with Jenelle Pierce

Jenelle Pierce and Heather Edwards discuss the psychosocial impact of STI stigma and how medical and mental health providers can use language and trauma-informed models in order to alleviate some stress and shame associated with STI prevention and diagnosis.

This program meets the requirements of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) and is approved for 2.5 CE credits. These CE credits may be applied toward AASECT certification and renewal of certification.
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Let's talk about language, normalization, and big-picture quality of life. 

Heather Edwards has put together a fantastic discussion with Jenelle Pierce of The STD Project! Jenelle gives us some great information about the many levels of psychosocial stigma that occur with an STI diagnosis that how they impact, not only those affected, but all of us in a sex-negative culture. 

As clinicians, we have a role to play in this. Are we confirming stigma or are we affirming of our clients?  
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Jenelle Marie Pierce (she/her)

Jenelle Marie Pierce is the Executive Director of The STI Project: Breaking the Stigma®, an Adjunct Professor, and a Spokesperson for As an STI+ Sexual Health Educator and content creator, Jenelle has been dismantling stigma by reclaiming STI narratives® through awareness, education, and acceptance since 2012.
Jenelle also tri-chairs the Communications Action Group for the National Coalition for Sexual Health (NCSH), and she is 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 Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR), the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), and The Intermountain West HPV Vaccination Coalition.
Jenelle's work has been featured in popular TV, radio, and print outlets such as: The Washington Post, CNN, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Jezebel, Forbes, HuffPost Live, NPR, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, Refinery 29, The Daily Mail, Bustle, and many more. Current bylines can be found in Ovee, SELF,, Kinkly, PornHub’s Sexual Wellness Center, and Allure.    
Patrick Jones - Course author

Tell me about the course: 

  • Objectives: 
    • Participants will be able to confidently instruct their patients/clients on the latest facts about STI transmission.
    • Participants will understand the origin and psychosocial impact of STI shame and stigma. 
    • Participants will understand how to use language that is not stigmatizing when discussing STIs in order to optimize outcomes. 
    • Participants will learn how to screen for STIs and risk factors in ways that are approachable, inclusive, medically accurate, and culturally competent.
    • Participants will be able to name 3 health determinant and inequities throughout their lifespan. 
    • Participants will be able to explain and advise the four basic steps of safer sex. 
    • Participants will be able to counsel patients on how to talk about STIs with their current and future partners

Who is this for?

Clinical Blindspots is a course series for professionals (medical and mental health) who work with pelvic and sexual health. 

This series focuses on the psychosocial aspects of caring for other humans in all of their glorious complexity. 

About Clinical Blindspots

This series focuses on the psychosocial aspects of caring for other humans in all of their glorious complexity. 

Clinical Blindspots is set of short courses that dive into topics that aren't usually part of the discussions in pelvic health. Some of them talk about bigger concepts of communication and clinical reasoning, while some offer specific instructions for kink and sex acts that can help clinicians navigate advising clients who enjoy doing these things. All of these courses are sex-positive, pleasure-positive, and trans-inclusive. 
Meet the Host!

Heather Edwards, PT, Sex Counselor & Educator, Founder of Clinical Blindspots (she/they)

Heather Edwards, PT, CSC has been a pelvic physical therapist for 17 years and is an AASECT certified Sexuality Counselor as well as a Sex Educator. They achieved their dual certificate at the University of Michigan Sexual Health Certificate Program. They founded Vino & Vulvas in 2015 and it quickly became their favorite thing to do (and is also in an online format as Bubbles & Bubbly now). They have presented at APTA and AASECT conferences and teaches for Pelvic Guru Academy on the topic of Trans-Inclusive Sexual & Pelvic Health. In addition to education and clinical work, Heather is an artist and illustrator of the coloring book series "Coloring Books for the Crotch Enthusiast". To connect with Heather, email H
Patrick Jones - Course author
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