Dating With an STI Can Be Difficult – These Sites Can Help
Dating can be hard in the first place, and approaching it with an STI certainly doesn’t make it any easier. It’s one of those things you have to disclose despite there never really being a good time for it. In fact, the idea of breaking down your own walls and sharing something so sensitive, not to mention something that inevitably comes with a backstory, may make dating seem difficult or even impossible.
Even with endless knowledge at our fingertips, many still still lack widespread knowledge of STIs — specifically, herpes. For those who don’t understand the incurable but highly preventable herpes virus, the idea of dating someone with it may seem like an automatic no, when there’s actually a lot more to it than you were taught in your sex ed class.
First of all, HSV (herpes simplex virus) is more common than you probably think. It’s estimated that about half of the population has HSV-1, or what is widely understood as oral herpes spread just from oral contact. Beyond that, about one out of every six people age 14 to 49 have HSV-2, the latter which usually falls into the ‘traditional’ category of an STD. This strain is more often spread by more intimate sexual activities.
More important than how many people have the virus is the lifestyle that comes along with it. Just because someone has herpes does not mean he or she cannot date, or that they are tarnished in some way. An STI can be spread during an individual’s first sexual encounter or simply because a past partner was not honest about their condition. Despite the outdated stigma our society carries around, having herpes in no way signifies the infected individual is dirty or promiscuous.
Dating with herpes may require more communication, self-restraint and creative intimacy, but it’s far from impossible. If you have HSV-2, it’s important to be honest and tell your partner about the virus at an appropriate time. It shouldn’t be the first sentence that comes out of your mouth, but it also shouldn’t be the last before you jump into bed when passion can overtake rational thinking.
Luckily, the Internet breaks down some of the self and society-imposed barriers that come along with dating with herpes, providing a transparent medium to interact and get to know others without so much worry about ignorant judgment or responses. When you discover the world of online dating for people with herpes, you’ll find that the comfort and security of being behind a screen allows you to easily open up about your specific condition, and be upfront and blunt more effortlessly than you are likely to be face-to-face. The virus becomes less important and who you are as an individual —your personality, quirks, likes and dislikes — are elevated.
The sites below, catered to those with herpes, provide a communal feeling for its users. Just being on them may do wonders to increase your confidence in offline dating, too. More importantly, niche sites designed for people with herpes streamline the process of getting over the STD-talk road bump, allowing for fun, meaningful connections with others while remaining both safe and honest. When it comes down to it, if you have the virus, there’s really no reason not to explore such sites. Go ahead and save yourself some time in your dating life as you read on to discover the best dating sites for people with herpes.
Debatably the most well-known dating site for people with STDs, Positive Singles has an impressive 1.5 million membership base and counting. The dating site may be so attractive to individuals because it focuses on matching you not just based on your medical condition, but based on other, more standard compatibility factors such as your interests, lifestyle preferences, and even star sign. Beyond the non-bias matching system, Positive Singles has a host of other features some casual hookup sites don’t.
Positive Singles provides both transparency and privacy, with highlights such as the ability to see who has viewed your profile, the option to browse anonymously, detailed privacy settings that allow you to hide your profile based on a specific set of rules you create, a setting to hide areas of your profile (including the type of STD you have), and even the option to require a special password to open the app on your mobile phone. It also goes above and beyond to provide an immersive online dating experience complete with a 15-question profile section listing your answers, as well as the answers you’d like your match to have. There are also profile verification options, a Tinder-style swiping section, and even free one-on-one dating advisors — which usually alone cost more than any standard dating site membership. While it doesn’t constantly remind you that you are on a niche dating site (in a good way), it does provide some helpful resources and support including a care location directory, Q&A section, forums, and more.
MPwH, which stands for ‘Meet People With Herpes,’ claims to be the original dating site for people with the virus. The inviting site is available for members with all sorts of relationships statuses, including those who are married and in a committed relationship, but is restricted for people only with HSV-1 or HSV-2. Profiles list what type of the virus you have, but it’s only a small field amongst over 25 other profile fields, including multiple choice and open ended questions. There’s also a reassuring profile verification option, along with a handful of privacy settings you can customize to your liking.
The herpes-only dating site feels and works much more like a traditional dating site, and is filled with an abundance of features that allow your personality to dominate your online presence. Video introductions and private albums allow you to make your experience on the site truly unique. You can sign up for a free membership and use about half of the features on the site, or upgrade to a paid membership to unlock over 30 additional features. It’s not a big issue if you don’t pay, but if you want to really get detailed in your searching or see others’ interest in you, such as who liked your profile, the upgraded membership is worth the price tag.
Learn more at MPwH
H-Mates is dedicated to connecting people with STDs for anything from friendships to serious dating. The site has a rather detailed sign-up form that looks much like one from its founding date of 2004. It has all the features of a basic dating site and operates just like one. There isn’t a ton going on behind the scenes here, with H-Mates providing more of a supportive online community where real connections can be formed. The site is not solely dedicated to people with herpes, but there is a profile field that lets you select the types of members you are looking to meet based on the type of STD(s) they have.
The options for self expression are impressive here, with the ability to upload an unlimited number of profile pictures (and a video introduction). You can browse and search to discover others, but there are a few other matchmaking features available after answering various types of questionnaires. You also get all the typical online dating ways of interacting, and even some rather unique ones, such as sending virtual kisses. The niche site doesn’t have the most modern interface or advanced matching algorithm, but it is 100 percent free to use. Going along with the ‘supportive’ theme of the site, H-Mates does accept donations, giving you access to premium features. With no paid membership, it somewhat equals the playing field for all members.
Learn more at H-Mates
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