Taking Control of Your Life
There are plenty of ways to meet people out there. You can do it old-school: you know, hitting the bars, cruising the grocery store or parks, hanging out in bookstores or flirting with a cute co-worker, even. You can do it 21st century style and hire a matchmaker (for a pretty penny) to help overhaul your image and help you land Mr. or Ms. Right. The less expensive (and more obvious) approach is, of course, online dating.
There are no shortages for finding love online. There are a million websites dedicated to helping you find a mate, like http://www.match.com, www.gay.com, www.chemistry.com, www.gaysingles.com...the list goes on and on! But, what if your needs are a little more specific?
In this day and age, with STIs running rampant through an undereducated and misinformed society (especially when it comes to sexuality), there is still a stigma attached to having a sexually transmitted illness. A lot of people who do contract one often feel displaced in the dating world and begin shying away from meeting potential mates out of fear or embarrassment.
No one wants to tell their new lover, “Hey, before we jump into bed I have to tell you something...” Or, “By the way, have you ever heard of herpes?”
I am in no way trying to downplay the severity of contracting one of these devastating diseases, but at the same time, we aren’t open to even discussing what it would feel like to be someone who has to live with it.
So, what do you do if you have contracted an STI and want to find love but are afraid of putting yourself out there in the mainstream dating world? Well, fear not! There are new dating websites popping up all the time tailor-made for this very issue! Let’s explore a few!
www.prescription4love.com is a dating service “specializing in health conditions (and diseases) like Cancer, Obesity, Deafness, Recovering Alcoholics...STD dating services (AIDS/HIV, herpes and HPV)...By using Prescription 4 Love, you can be honest in advance and progress to the next stages of friendships and relationships.”
What I liked about this site was that it was all-encompassing. It wasn’t just STI specific, it enveloped a wide range of conditions (I only listed a few) and contains within it support groups of like-minded people. This is very innovative, because instead of just throwing you to the wolves, there are programs on the site made specifically to help you deal with your condition, which will only make you more comfortable in finding a partner who is open to your situation, as well. This site has been around for about 3 years, and has over 8,000 members with a wide range of conditions.
Cost: $9.95 per month
www.stdmatch.net “perfect for users with any kind of STD, though is particularly noted for its support for those who suffer from HSV, HPV, HIV, Hep B/C, Chlamydia, Thrush and Syphilis.”
It’s one of the most popular STD dating sites on the market today, and was recently featured on www.CNN.com. “It has received significant praise for the level of support shown to its users.” It’s a great way to meet people and a tool to learn about yourself and your illness.
Cost: Free to join, but in order to access all of the features, you gotta upgrade!
1 Month- $29.95
3 Month- $59.95
6 Month- $99.95
www.positivesdating.com is dedicated for the HIV+ community and is great for networking, meeting new friends and potential romantic partners. There is lots of information available about HIV and the newest developments in reaching cures and better treatments. It is safe, secure and 100% anonymous, so you can feel confident in knowing that your privacy is protected. It utilizes US relationship expert, Dr. Paul’s “soulmate system” matchmaking method.
Cost: Free to join, but you are going to want to upgrade to have access to all features!
6 Month- $59.95
Look, whatever you issue, whatever your situation, there is always a silver lining to the cloud. Everyone deserves love and everyone deserves a chance to be happy. The idea that you are “dirty” or “ruined” if you contract a STI is outdated and absolutely untrue. Anyone can fall victim to one night with the wrong person. More and more young people are not taking precautions against STIs and are contracting them at alarming rates.
In fact, a survey conducted by the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that more than 3 MILLION teens between the ages of 14-19 have AT LEAST one STI. At least 25% of teen girls in the US have contracted an STI. The result of abstinence only education has left a generation of vulnerable children out there to fend for themselves in a world that we are not preparing them for.
What’s the best prevention? Education and awareness. The more you know, the less afraid you will be and the more confidence you will have in being able to talk to your partner openly and honestly about your concerns. Think before you act. Use condoms EVERY TIME. Communicate with one another and know that we are all in this together, so let’s be good to each other!
For more information on your body and your health, go to http://www.cdc.gov/STD/ and take control of your life!