We are not on the same side of this war.
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They reinforce the impulse of scared, raw people to hate themselves and hide from the rest of the world. These websites enable the self-segregation of the H community in a way that I believe contributes to our invisibility and inertia. They say to the rest of the world that we belong apart, that we are less than, that we are a hilarious PositiveSingles punch line. They send a progressive message to no one. Denying that is intellectually dishonest. Some of these websites claim to empower their customers.
Maybe some people use them as a transitional tool before re-entering the wider dating sphere, and hey, cool, whatever.
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Good for those people. But they are just as often predatory environments where newly diagnosed men and women but usually women are bombarded with attention. Like other dating services, they can be unsafe spaces for women where harassment and coercion thrive. When you round up a vulnerable and isolated population, create a community space and fail to moderate it or protect your users, you create a dangerous environment.
These folks would be better served by a support community than a dating app. STI dating services are a product of the stigma, not an empowering way out of it.
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Not to mention that people with herpes are diverse. Having a minor skin condition in common is a shoddy foundation for a healthy relationship.
I think most people who have had herpes for a few years know this too. The only people who ask me about herpes dating sites have just been diagnosed and are still daunted by the idea of disclosing—a fear I encourage them to tackle instead of pursuing these trap door dating sites.
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Which leads me to my next concern: Some of them bring on consultants in the sexual health world, but only after the fact, and by and large their founders do not come from our community. These entrepreneurs may believe they have our best interests at heart, but they will never understand the stigma as well as someone who lives with it. They do not listen to the needs and opinions of this community, and they take funding and attention away from real efforts to provide treatment and testing, and to de-stigmatize sexual health.
STI dating services are almost always unethical money-grabs that prey on what seems like a potentially underserved niche market. This Silicon Valley opportunism is antithetical to real social change and progress. They reach out to me, share my posts and my talks on their social media platforms, and contact my fellow activists when I refuse to collaborate with them.
You cannot say your service fights STI stigma when it relies on stigma to exist. What we need is better sex education and health care, access to therapy and more representation.
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These companies are nothing but vultures, co-opting the language of activism. Get my name outcha mouth and get off my lawn. I contracted HSV-1 unknown location in my late 40s.
Like other posters, I would rather avoid the worry of passing the virus to someone else by finding someone that already has it. My ex-wife had it, and I never worried about it. The irony is that I never got it from her after 17 years of marriage…I got it from a casual fling afterwards. Invariably, most of the women I find on the sites have HSV-2 genitally. So far, ALL of the women in my area are Type 2. I have even been under considerable stress…and nothing. That look hurts me. They have to decide if its worth it? Im like 8 years positive and i wonder about the sites, never touched them, but wondered because screw the talk….
Someone with it wont force me to experience that with them. I had sex unprotected and contracted so its my bad. Anyway, when you tell someone and they accept it, do you simply use antivirals, condoms, or just wait a week if you feel a sore? Thank you for this. My daughter recently contracted herpes and I was thinking about these sites as a way to support her. I am now looking at them in a total different light. She is a bright outgoing fun person and should not let this stop her in anyway — nor limit her potential friend or dating pool.
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