They say to the rest of the world that we belong apart, that we are less than, that we are a hilarious Positive Singles punch line. Maybe some people use them as a transitional tool before re-entering the wider dating sphere, and hey, cool, whatever. But they are just as often predatory environments where newly diagnosed men and women (but usually women) are bombarded with attention.Like other dating services, they can be unsafe spaces for women where harassment and coercion thrive.Unfortunately, our society unfairly looks down on people who have sexually transmitted diseases, even though HSV-1 and HSV-2 are extremely common.
I’ve dated people with herpes and I’ve dated people without it.This is a play for legitimacy and access to my platform, and I’m super done with it.As soon as a company like Truster starts talking about how they’re going to eradicate herpes stigma in a naïve and ignorant Medium post, I need to play bad cop.STI dating services are almost always unethical money-grabs that prey on what seems like a potentially underserved niche market.This Silicon Valley opportunism is antithetical to real social change and progress.STI dating services are a product of the stigma, not an empowering way out of it.Not to mention that people with herpes are diverse.These companies are nothing but vultures, co-opting the language of activism. Herpes dating sites work by creating a community of herpes singles and providing a safe, anonymous, shame-free environment for them to interact in.Which leads me to my next concern: these websites and apps are not created by people with STIs, or by people who are openly STI positive.Some of them bring on consultants in the sexual health world, but only after the fact, and by and large their founders do not come from our community.