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“On a first date with this wonderful guy, I told him, and he couldn’t handle it,” she says.“I really wonder if it would have changed things to wait until we had connected more.”On the flip side, she’s also dated “quite a few guys who didn’t care at all” even though she told them ASAP.Although telling someone you’re interested in can be intimidating, there are different ways to do it, and you might find one easier than the others.In the past, Carlson would put the herpes conversation on the table quickly.Others just write, “I have herpes” in their profiles, and Davis says her friends in this camp still have plenty of people knocking on their online-dating doors.You can have great sex, find love, and also cut down on the chance of passing herpes along to your partner, Triplett says.“I mostly thought, ‘I’m going to die alone, no one’s going to date me ever again,” she tells SELF.Although herpes is one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted diseases, it’s shrouded in stigma.
“It helps rebuild the confidence that gets hammered down when you get that diagnosis.” (She is a spokesperson for Positive Singles, but she’s never used any STD-specific dating site.)Carlson, who got back into dating via this kind of site after her diagnosis, agrees.
Davis usually holds off on disclosing to potential sexual partners that she has herpes until she’s known them for a bit.
“I’ve always waited a little while before telling people, basically until I thought it was going somewhere,” Davis says.
Jenelle Marie Davis, 34, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, will gladly explain why having herpes isn’t the end of the world. It took years for Davis, founder of The STD Project, which encourages awareness and acceptance of various sexually transmitted diseases, and spokesperson for Positive Singles, a dating site for people with STDs, to come to terms with the diagnosis she got at age 16.“My mom says the entire way home from my appointment, I cried and said no one would ever love me, no one would ever want me, and I’d never get married,” Davis tells SELF.
When she was diagnosed with herpes almost three years ago, Whitney Carlson, 29, a social media editor in Chicago, had a similar reaction.