Individuals with various sexually transmitted diseases now have more options when it comes to finding love online. Dating websites that cater to individuals with STDs have become increasingly popular.
According to the New York Daily News, sites including STDSoulmates.com, STDMatch.net and PositiveSingles.com allow people infected with the same STDs to search for dates. Others include MPwH.net (Meet people with H), PositivesDating.com, HMates.com and STDfriends.com.
USA Today reported that H-YPE.com focuses on helping individuals with genital herpes find others with the incurable STD.
"There are more and more sites being created catering to people who are infected," Diana Kirschner, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of "Find Your Soul Mate Online in 6 Simple Steps," told the news source.
Experts agree that these websites may make talking about STD status easier for those who are dating. They may also help reduce the number of new STD cases, as those finding love online are open about their infection status and can take precautions to protect their sexual partners. However, some worry that websites like these send the wrong message about individuals with STDs.
"They are looking at websites where everyone to date has herpes or another STD, but that seems sad in a way - to have to narrow the pool to just people who are infected," Carl Hindy, a cinical psychologist practicing in Nashua, N.H., told USA Today. "That seems to further stigmatize and ostracize."
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are currently more than 100 million Americans living with STDs, and 20 million new infections occur each year. Common STDs include HPV, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, genital herpes, syphilis, HIV and hepatitis B.
While most of these infections are curable with prescription medications, herpes, HPV and HIV are not.
It's important for all sexually active individuals to remember that many STDs are asymptomatic, making it difficult to diagnose them. Healthcare experts can help people determine the STD tests they should receive and how often to be screened.