Rising STD Rate Sparks Online Dating Sites
March 16, 2007
According to CDC, one in four women and nearly one in five men have genital herpes. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that one in four women have human papillomavirus, which can cause cervical cancer and genital warts.
Now, a new industry has sprung up: Internet dating sites for people with STDs. Sites such as stdmatch.net and datingwithherpes.com. allow people with STDs to contact each other and share support. Such sites take the difficulty out of trying to determine when to tell a prospective partner about an STD, and they reduce the risk of spreading the infections, members say. Charlotteh.com and atlantahclub.com are two of many sites for people with herpes.
Pam, who declined to use her last name, is the founder of Charlotteh.com. She said many people are nervous about joining, because it may be the first time they have self-identified as having herpes. Since many site users have not disclosed their infection to family or friends, a password is required to access the photo gallery showing pictures of social events and to receive specific information about members. One site, H2Ofriends.com, lists events for people with herpes in some 40 cities from San Francisco to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Some events attract large crowds.
02.28.2007; Elizabeth Cohen