Singles dating for people with herpies
“I mostly thought, ‘I’m going to die alone, no one’s going to date me ever again,” she tells SELF.Although herpes is one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted diseases, it’s shrouded in stigma.They both say it can be nerve-racking, but a few things help: sitting the person down in a place that’s comfortable for them, trying not to be too emotional, starting off with something like, “Hey, there’s something I need to talk to you about,” and bringing a wealth of knowledge to the conversation.“I always try to be calm and not too clinical but explain that I have done the research,” Carlson says.Davis agrees, saying she fills people in on key details, like how herpes is transmitted, how transmission can be prevented, whether she’s taking medication that keeps the virus from multiplying, thus making it less likely to transmit, and how to find more information about the STD.Around two-thirds of people worldwide under age 50 have herpes simplex 1, according to the World Health Organization, and around one in every six Americans between ages 14 and 49 has genital herpes, usually caused by herpes simplex 2, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Both Davis and Carlson eventually moved past their initial panic and saw herpes for what it is: an infection many people have that happens to usually get passed through sexual contact.On sites like Positive Singles and HMates, users are expected to be open about their diagnoses, but because they know everyone else there has an STD, too, it removes a huge barrier—and the question of whether the information will send a potential partner packing.“It’s a great way to see you’re still the same interesting, sexy, desirable person,” Davis says.
Although they tell potential partners at different points in the relationship, Carlson and Davis’ actual disclosure process is pretty similar.“After I felt more comfortable with myself and the situation, I went on Bumble and started dating people in the more conventional way,” she says.Some people put an incognito message in their profiles on general dating sites, writing out 437737—it spells “herpes” on a dial pad—in their profiles.But all the self-acceptance in the world doesn’t erase the fact that a herpes diagnosis creates ripple effects of shame and social isolation, and the fallout is especially pronounced when it comes to your dating life.“It’s good to have the conversation because there is a potential risk of transmission,” Cherrell Triplett, M.D., an ob/gyn who practices at Southside OBGYN and Franciscan Alliance in Indianapolis, Indiana, tells SELF.
To top it all off, she also tells them they don’t have to make a decision about whether to continue seeing her—or even respond—right away. But I usually peace out so they have their space to chew on it,” she says.