Dating with STIs

Must love dogs... and have herpes?! The new trend helping people with STDs find love.

Dating with STIs

Dating can be brutal – love is a battlefield, right? – but imagine trying to find a guy who likes you as much as you like him… and is cool with you having an STD. Think about it, first dates are hard enough but how do you slip, “I have a sexually-transmitted disease” into the convo? Not a fun talk, but obviously very necessary before you get physical. Enter a new trend in online dating with niche websites targeted towards STI sufferers – that’s right these sites want to couple up sufferers.

With over 70,000 Australians living with an STI, it’s definitely important to know exactly what you’re sleeping with. And wouldn’t it be better if you and your, erm, next conquest knew all about each other’s sexual history BEFORE you met? This is the big sell for the new wave of online dating sites dedicated to people with STIs – they allow people to post their condition on their profile and save themselves from the awkward chat later. Better yet, they can find love with others who have same infection and understand what they’re going through. Well, we guess the common ground is a talking point?!

The websites work like a normal dating profile, letting you filter your search down by gender, age and location; but depending on the site (and what conditions they cater for) they also give the extra option of specifying if you have herpes, HIV, HPV, hepatitis B, AIDs or syphilis.

In Australia, we now have four such sites including Lovebug Dating, STD Singles and STD Dating Australia (both affiliated with Positive Singles) and Dating With A Twist.

The trend began with the US STD dating site Positive Singles, which launched in 2006 (followed by Lovebug Dating the same year). The website now has 700,000 members worldwide, including singles from Down Under.

According to Steve Kasper, a consultant for Positive Singles, herpes is one of the most common STIs among its members, and we’re not surprised with 12 percent of Aussies suffering from herpex simplex 2 (which is mainly responsible for genital herpes), and three quarters of the population carrying at least one type of the herpes virus (including the dreaded cold-sore variety).

Kasper told the New York Daily News: “It provides a particular service to people who otherwise assume their dating life is over.

“You’re surrounded by people who understand you, who have been through what you’re going through,” he said. “It’s not just about dating, it’s a support group.”

We can’t help but wonder if this will reduce the stigma around people with STIs or if suggesting they need a separate website (different from “normal” dating sites) is just another form of ostracism? Our fingers are crossed for the former.