A New Online Dating Niche – STD Matchmaking
As the rates of sexually transmitted diseases rises across the UK, the likelihood of being diagnosed with an STD increases with every new partner you take on. Statistics show that in 2012 there were some half a million new diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections while half of people under the age of 25 who were tested were positive for chlamydia.
However, if you’ve already contracted an STD, things could look very different for you. Getting to know a new partner can sometimes be embarrassing and awkward at the best of times, but add to that the moral obligation to disclose your STD status and it amplifies that awkwardness immeasurably.
It seems those are just some of the reasons why STI online dating agencies are springing up to serve the needs of those diagnosed with sexual diseases.
An agency for every diagnosis
There are some sexually transmitted infections that, once contracted, will never be completely eradicated. Not only HIV, which tends to be known as the most enduring of all illnesses that can be picked up through sexual activity, but a number of others as well. Most notably, Herpes – also known as HPV or genital warts – can be treated for its symptoms but not completely cured, meaning that there is always the risk of passing it on to a sexual partner.
As a result, a number of online dating agencies have formed that allow people to seek out partners who are not only like-minded but also share their disease status. For many, it’s a way to get the awkward questions about sexual pasts out of the way before they begin dating.
It may seem that this would be a niche area – and in some ways it is – but it’s also an area of the dating marketplace that has seen a boom in the past few years. Website Positive Singles says that it has over 30,000 registered members in the UK seeking partners with similar sexual histories while Herpes Dating, arguably the largest STI dating site, claims almost 800,000 members of its site and tens of thousands of dating success stories. It’s easy to understand how sexually transmitted infections are passed on so easily when it’s easier to just go with the flow and worry about it later. It’s also easy to understand that there’s no good time to say to your new partner, “Honey, I have something to tell you…”
Although much has changed in terms of public attitudes to sex and relationships, as well as developments in medical treatments, the stigma around sexually transmitted infections remains strong. Even with the statistics mentioned above showing that huge numbers of the sexually active population are likely to have contracted a sexually transmitted infection at some point during their lives, the ease with which this information can be shared with potential and new partners is not great.
Dating someone whose sexual health is already known in advance can be a huge relief for those who have worried about how to tell partners about their illness status. It allows a potentially happy couple to skip over the part where they have to have that particular difficult conversation and get straight on with getting to know one another.
Even in these modern and relatively progressive times, there is still a great stigma attached to disclosing one’s sexual health status to a potential partner, particularly when it’s not all good news. The emergence of STD dating agencies has enabled individuals who wish to seek like-minded people to also find those where the knowledge of their sexual health status is known and removes some of the fear of sharing their past with an unsuspecting partner.