Dating can be a daunting experience, especially when it comes to the topic of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). With the rise in STI diagnoses, it's likely that you'll date someone who has been diagnosed with one. Fortunately, there are resources available to help you navigate this sensitive subject. The website and app Positivesingles is the largest herpes and STD dating community.
With 15,000 daily active members and counting, informative blogs, and real-life stories, it's not just about connecting but also about a support and information network. One of the most difficult aspects of dating in the modern era is finding the right time to talk about STIs and safe sex. Most adults know that they should have these conversations. It can be annoying when you find out that the person you're dating has an STI and didn't tell you.
It can make it a little less painful to find out that they thought they had a good reason not to tell you, even if that reason was wrong. A person with a sexually transmitted disease may or may not have symptoms. When people feel perfectly well, they don't know they have an infection that can spread. That's why doctors recommend that people who have sex (or who have had sex in the past) get tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
Having an STD such as gonorrhea, chlamydia or herpes doesn't mean you're banned from accessing the dating group, but it does mean that your potential partner should have an open mind. If they're available to you, try to find mental health resources (such as psychotherapy) to help you as you explore dating with an STD. Recently, a handful of popular apps whose users are primarily gay, bisexual and transgender - the populations most at risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases - have started encouraging users to disclose their status, get tested and receive treatment, and notify their partners if they may have contracted a disease. Apps make it easier to find a partner, so it's not surprising to see an increase in STDs with an increase in the number of partners, although there is little data to show that using apps equates to more STDs, health experts say.
Grindr, Adam4Adam, Daddyhunt and other companies have established partnerships with local health departments and advocacy groups to send specific alerts about STD outbreaks, set regular testing reminders, and direct users to a site where they can securely and anonymously send a message to their ex-partners informing them that they might have contracted an infection. The experts I contacted point out that a person who knows they have an STD is more likely to know their sexual health. If you find it difficult to find new partners when you have an STD or an STI, remember that you're not alone. Federal health officials say there are a number of factors that are fueling the epidemic, such as the decline in condom use, the social stigma surrounding STDs and funding cuts to clinics that offer outreach, testing and treatment services. If you think you have an STD or have questions about STDs, talk to a doctor, sexual health clinic or student health center.
Local nurses reported that an increasing number of patients were showing up at STD clinics, and some specifically cited the Grindr ad as their motivation to seek testing or care. When someone has been diagnosed with an STD or STI, it's important for them to be honest with their partner about their status. This can be difficult but necessary for both parties involved. Someone who has never been intimate or has been in a relationship with someone with an STD is likely to have a lot of questions about what this could mean for them (as well as for you). It's important for both parties to be open and honest about their feelings and concerns so that they can work together on how best to protect themselves from further infection. Having an STD doesn't mean your dating life is over - it just means taking extra precautions when engaging in sexual activities.
With the right resources and support system in place, dating with an STD can be just as enjoyable as any other relationship.