STD Testing - Tommy's Story

A Client Story: Tommy

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A few weeks ago I met with a guy we’ll call Tommy1 who came in for STD testing. He was exhibiting symptoms of an STD, but wasn’t sure what was going on with his body. He expressed a need for help.

The First Appointment

After looking over his paperwork, I greeted Tommy in the waiting room. He smiled and shook my hand. We went into an advocacy room and I asked him why he was here. He told me the symptoms he’d been experiencing and that his current girlfriend had been a previous client who recommended he come to us. I really didn’t have to do much talking after that. Tommy went on to tell me his life’s story (I’m not exaggerating!).

He told me about how his stepfather molested him as a child, but how that pushed him to overcompensate sexually because he doesn’t have a proclivity toward homosexuality. He told me how he left his home before he was 18 because of his broken family relationships, and how when he came to Greensboro he was homeless and alone. He told me how he’d survived here until he could get a job. He now has a job and an apartment, but he told me how he’s been spending his money unwisely (his words) because he buys a lot of pornography and hires prostitutes often. He told me that he knows God looks out for him, but that he’s had to learn everything about life the hard way.

As you can imagine, my heart broke for this guy. He’s just had a crappy life; yet he seems to know God has been with him through all of it. He sees the positive aspects and attributes them to God in spite of the negative things that have happened to him at the hands of other people, or even because of his own bad decisions.

I asked him to explain more about his tendency to seek sexual fulfillment. He told me he believes he’s stuck in a self-destructive pattern. He knows that he’s playing with fire—that he’s finally got a job and a place to live, but that he’s making his life harder by the sexual decisions he’s making. He expressed his hope that he didn’t have an STD.

I do what I normally do in these kind of appointments; I gave him my sexual-risk-avoidance spiel. Told him how sex in a committed, life-long, monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner is the only riskless sex he can enjoy; everything else is risky. He agreed, but had never heard it put that way. So after chatting a little more, we got up and he gave his urine sample and left.

The Second Appointment

The following week, he returned for the second appointment to get his results and take the HIV oral swab. I had to tell him he tested positive for Chlamydia. He immediately burst into tears. As he sat there sobbing, I put my hand on his shoulder and told him it wasn’t the end of the world, that this was treatable, curable, and he’d be okay. I assured him I was here to help however I could.

Once Tommy pulled himself together, he expressed interest in stopping his destructive sexual habits. First, I asked him if he thought he might be addicted. He was unsure, but I recommended professional counseling, anyway. In my experience, anytime someone expresses a desire to stop doing something that seems to have taken over their life, yet they can’t stop on their own, they have an addiction.

Second, I asked Tommy, “Based on your belief in God, can I tell you what the Bible has to offer for your situation?” He said sure, so I explained the Gospel to him by way of 4 points: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. Really, it’s a summary of the entire biblical message. God created everything, but humans rebelled and broke our relationship with God; now every human has a tendency to rebel against God in their life. However, God loves us so much that he made a plan to right our wrongs. Though we rebelled, he responded with love and compassion by sending his Son, Jesus, into human history as a man who would live and die in our place. His death would be a substitute punishment for us—the punishment we all deserve for rebelling against God. But it doesn’t stop there; Jesus would ultimately overcome death, the consequence of our rebellion, so we could overcome death with him in the end.

Though Tommy had been in and out of church his whole life, he’d never heard that Grand Story before. I’m not surprised. I also told him that his desires would always lead him toward self-destruction; the only way he could ever hope to overcome them would be to replace them with new, more healthy desires, including an ultimate desire to know God above anything or anyone else. He told me he’d think about it, and that he’d like to come back the following week to discuss it more.

Tommy hasn’t come back yet, but I have hope that he’ll consider what I told him. I’m still willing to listen and help if he does decide to return… that’s what I’m here for.


Carter Mundy is the Assistant Executive Director at Greensboro Pregnancy Care Center. He enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter, and the family dog. He also loves his church family, Mercy Hill, where he serves as a pastor. You can follow Carter on Facebook, or on Twitter @carter_pm.


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  1. His name has been changed for confidentiality.