From Our Executive Director, Jenelle Marie Pierce
In 2012, I quit my career as an Analyst for Stryker Corporation’s Healthcare Division and founded The STD Project and its child sites. I am now The STD Project’s Executive Director; the Founder of the herpes activists network, HANDS; and the Spokesperson for Positive Singles.
I am also a Tri-Chair of the Communications Action Group at the National Coalition for Sexual Health (NCSH) and am a member of the International Union Against Sexually Transmitted Diseases (IUASTD), the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association (ASTDA), the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), and the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR).
Previously, I was the STD Expert for Answers.com and an adjunct professor for Grand Rapids Community College.
My work has been featured in popular TV, radio, and print outlets such as: Cosmopolitan Magazine, Jezebel, Forbes, HuffPost Live, NPR, Refinery 29, NOW Magazine (UK), and many more. Current bylines can be found in SELF, HepatitisC.net, Kinkly, PornHub’s Sexual Wellness Center, xoJane, and Allure.
- Founder – Herpes Activists Networking to Dismantle Stigma (HANDS) – Present
- Spokesperson – Positive Singles – Present
- Freelance Writer – The Washington Post, SELF, Planned Parenthood, Allure, Kinkly.com, and others – Present
- Professional Speaker – AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), Red Project, and others – Present
- STD Expert – Answers.com – 2013-2017
- Adjunct Professor – Grand Rapids Community College – 2012-2016
- National Coalition for Sexual Health (NCSH) – Tri-Chair of the Communications Action Group
- The International Union Against Sexually Transmitted Infections (IUSTI)
- American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association (ASTDA)
- National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD)
- National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR)
- MBA – Graduated with high honors from the Honors Program – Davenport University
- BBA – Graduated with honors from the Honors Program – Davenport University
Noteable Awards & Recognition**
- 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan 2016
- 40 Under 40 Business Leader 2015
- Advocates Unite! Caring Ambassadors Fellow 2015
My name’s Jenelle Marie Pierce (she/her/hers), and I am living with a long term infection. *Hi, Jenelle.* Since I was 16 years old, I’ve lived with genital herpes – otherwise known as the herpes simplex virus (HSV) or simply, herpes (I’ve also had other STIs or STDs). Who admits that? *raises hand* Want to know more about my experience with a long term infection? Read my STD Interview on The STD Project.
More importantly, having a long term infection has not hindered my love life, dampened my ambition, or limited my relationships. I’ve been married, auditioned for American Idol, gone skydiving 3 times, been an auditor for a Big 4 accounting firm, ran a 25k, started successful businesses, worked as a ‘carny’ on a fried veggie wagon (seriously), completed 2 honors degrees, etc., etc.. An infection, in short, has not stopped me from achieving anything or enjoying my life.
I am here to tell you, having hepatitis does not have to stop you either.
Because of my personal experience with a stigmatized infection, in April of 2012, I launched The STD Project and have been working on it ever since. Hepatitis.Education is an extension of that work.
Sure, no one wants an infection – I don’t want a cold or the flu – but, as humans, our bodies are not infallible. They are resilient, yes, but certainly not infallible, and maladies are part of the human experience.
Most importantly, I understand what it’s like to feel stereotyped, misunderstood, and alone with something considered taboo. As a result, I work to encourage education and facilitate thoughtful discussion about sexual health and hepatitis, specifically. I can also be a vessel for your hepatitis stories through the Hepatitis Interviews. In time, I won’t need to be this vessel because we will have broken the stigma and opened the minds of others, but until then, I am here to serve you.
Take off your shoes and stay awhile – everyone is welcome here – and if you’d like, share your hepatitis story (anonymously). You can also find me on social media: YouTube, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, or Twitter – drop by and say hello!
*For a clinical diagnosis, always consult a physician, but for all other questions, our resources and references pages are a great place to start.
**For a detailed listing of awards and recognition, please visit our press page!
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