My honest opinion is that STD dating sites are a good idea but they don’t appeal to everyone affected. The biggest problem with having an incurable STD like herpes is (believe it or not) normally not the disease itself but the social stigma attached to it.
For this reason, I personally prefer message forums and herpes support services like Honeycomb. You can chat for free with lots of other people with herpes and if you strike a connection then that’s great.
I don’t feel that people with HSV should be limited to dating only other people with herpes. It might make the initial “herpes talk” a little bit easier but after that there is an entire relationship that needs to be built and based on so much more.
The chance of spreading herpes to an uninfected partner is approximately 4 to 10% and this risk can be reduced by more than half with sensible precautions. Even though the risk of transmission is very small, the reality is that there will always be “some chance” of passing on the virus even if condoms and treatment are used.
This is where having herpes gets tricky because it is unfair (and inhumane) not to tell a potential partner of this known risk. Although herpes can be treated unfortunately it cannot be cured. So in short, if you are dating and plan to take the relationship to an intimate level you are responsible to tell your partner if you have herpes (or any other transmittable disease).
Having an environment where you are not judged for having an STD and can bi-pass the need to ever have this “talk” is a huge emotional relief. This is why there is a great appeal for STD specific dating sites. The negative aspect of this is that no person affected by an STD should ever be led to believe that they need to limit themselves to date only other STD affected people.
Herpes is manageable and very rarely does it have an impact on your long-term health. Generally, you can still have great sex and be intimate (with a couple of sensible considerations), be happy and flirtatious and when you are ready, have a family without any problems.
When a person is diagnosed with an STD like herpes the tendency is to feel alone, depressed and isolated from the rest of the world. This is truly something that needs to change. Despite affecting an estimated 20% of the population, genital herpes is such a taboo topic that even your closet friend is unlikely to tell you. Statistically, many of your friends, the people you work with and members of your own family may be directly affected.
Online communities (such as message forums like Honeycomb.click and STD dating sites like Positive Singles) are really helpful because they provide an outlet for people to talk about this very private issue and to find encouragement and inspiration from people who are in similar circumstances. So even with the aspect of dating set aside, these types of websites offer a very necessary herpes support system.
One consideration with STD specific dating sites however is that the members may be affected by different STDS or a different strain or location of an STD (for example, Herpes simplex virus Type 1 [HSV-1] compared to Type 2 [HSV-2] being oral / genital), in which case it is important that there is proper awareness and communication to prevent further infection.
If you have a look in the Herpes Dating Stories section of the HSV Blog you will find regular stories of people who are overcoming the stigma and finding love, despite the challenge of having herpes. To look on the bright side, having to disclose your status about an STD like herpes can help to ensure that you only make love with people who truly care about you and want to be with you, regardless. That is, people who see herpes for what it is (a skin condition) and think that you are well worth the small possible risk of having it too.