Today there’s a dating website out there for everyone.
For the Christian who’s single there’s Christian Mingle.
If you’re Latin American there’s Latino People Meet.
And if you’ve got Herpes you can check-out H-Date.
Dating sites geared toward STD’s are the latest trend in online dating – and experts say they could help keep some diseases from spreading.
One man living with HIV shared his story of dating with disease.
He’s yet to tell some people close to him, so we’re protecting his identity and will refer to him only as Jay.
Dating can be hard.
Dating in high school even harder.
But dating in high school with an STD well that Jay says is nearly impossible.
Jay was just 16-years-old, donating to his schools blood drive when he found out he was HIV positive.
“They called me and said you have to come in this is very serious.”
Since then Jay says it’s been almost impossible to maintain a romantic relationship.
His longest lasted about a year.
It was then he decided he was ready to tell his then girlfriend about his disease.
“We traveled together, she lived in my house, we got very serious and it took me one year, and after I told her she got up and left,” Jay said.
And from there he says dating only got harder.
“I get extremely nervous because you have that fact when you might just be rejected and your feelings are now hurt, so it sucks.”
So after seeing an ad for online dating he decided to give it a try.
He started by using well known sites like Match.com and eHarmony.
“Did that sense of anonymity make you feel more comfortable because you have HIV?” PIX11 asked. “Yes in some ways it did, yes absolutely. It made me feel a lot different. It made me feel better about myself,” he said.
Clinical Psychologist Doctor Bonnie Jacobson, who specializes in relationships, has noticed the recent trend in online dating, and said “I think they’ve grown in popularity because they work.”
In the age of digital dating she says Jay’s story is hardly unique.
“Many people that come here have deep shame about having STD, any STD, herpes, vaginal warts, whatever it is, and they do not want to tell the person they’re meeting they have it.”
So meeting someone online helps daters keep their distance until they feel comfortable.
But eventually Jay had to meet the other person face to face. “It was better because you finally got to meet the person, until it came down to the time to tell them yes, I’m HIV positive.”
The second time Jay felt comfortable enough to reveal his secret went just like the first.
“I told her and she looked at me and she got up and left. It was hard, it’s heartbreaking, you just got to deal with it.”
But as it turned out Jay didn’t have to deal with it. Shortly after the second rejection he learned about an online dating website exclusively for people who are HIV positive, so he decided to give it a try.
“I didn’t have to worry about it and I didn’t have to say she’s going to leave dinner; I’m going to have to pay for the bill and that’s it.”
Whether it’s HIV, HPV, or any other STD these niche dating websites are popping up all over the place.
Sites like positive singles.com and stdmatch.net will sort through the alphabet soup of sexually transmitted diseases to find someone who shares the user’s ailment.
The Center For Disease Control estimates that more than 110-million people are living with a sexually transmitted infection right now.
And 20 million new cases are diagnosed every year.
So even for the shallow dater with an STD, the dating pool is pretty deep.
“I think it’s fantastic because this is an even playing field; there’s no lies, there’s no feeling of shame,” Jay said. “We both have it, we can work together to see how to manage it.”
But Jay says when he meets someone through the STD dating website they hardly talk about the infection because both people already know what it is and how to deal with it.
And that means Jay can focus on the date and not the disease.
“I can be open, I can be comfortable, I wouldn’t have to worry about confronting this person or telling this person that I’m HIV positive because they already knew.”
And the best part of the story is that after facing rejection in the past Jay says he’s recommended the STD dating websites to others. He is now working to become a doctor specializing in infectious diseases so he can help promote understanding and help others prevent diseases from spreading.