This post originally appeared on Details.com.
There are dating sites for vegetarians, Apple snobs, and CrossFitters, so why not for people with sexually transmitted diseases?
STD-positive dating sites such as H-YPE.com, PositivesDating.com, STDmatch.net, and PositiveSingles.com seek to match singles who have the same STDs. When signing up, people are asked to pick their STD from a drop-down menu. Think: I am a male, seeking a female, who also has herpes type 1, usually genital. That’s hot.
Pew surveyfound that at least 11 per cent of Americans have gone online to find “the one.” And since half of all sexually active people will have contracted at least one STD by their 25th birthday, dating by STD definitely appears to have a market. In fact, PositiveSingles.com reports gaining 100,000 new members in the past year alone. (And as both an online dater and a hypochondriac, I’m completely fine with as many STD-positive daters as possible being weeded out from my online pool.)
Still, there are some definite pros to these sites. For many people with an STD, the stigma tends to be far worse than the actual infection. After all, some don’t come with any symptoms at all, and many that do can either be knocked out with a round of antibiotics or easily managed so they don’t cramp your style too much. Even so, research from the University of Michigan shows that giving someone an easily cured STD is considered worse than giving them afatal flu.
These dating sites could help. They give people an opportunity to connect with others who are in the same boat, and many offer subscribers access to counselors, support groups, and STD-treatment locations.
But even if both you and your partner have the same STD, sex isn’t a free-for-all, says Ketul Shah, M.D., assistant professor of urology at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. After all, STDs can weaken the immune system, making it easier for you to become infected with others once you have one.
And since the strains of some STDs are constantly multiplying — for instance, more than 100 different types of HPV are now out there — even if both you and your partner have the same STD, you could still swap strains, he says. Plus, if you have one STD, the chances that you have more than one are pretty high, says Shah, and these sites let users select only one.
In the end, staying safe while getting yours is basically the same whether or not you have an STD. So put those barrier methods to good use (yes, even during oral sex). And for the love of your junk, get tested.