Dating is a natural but tough process. You have to factor in geography, timing, physical attraction, and interests to find the right balance. When you throw in an STD you get a whole different level of ‘complicated’.
Having an STD is something you have to tell your partner if you decide to date. However, most people will not take the news lightly and this ends up in a rejection. However, having herpes, HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, or HPV does not mean that you are locked out of the dating world. It just means that the person you choose to date should have an open mind.
“Dating online while having an STD is certainly not impossible,” saysDavid Bennett, a certified counselor, relationship expert, and co-author of seven self-help books. “Especially since 25 percent of people in the U.S. have an incurable STD. So just know that many other people using online dating also are dealing with this issue.”
The good news is that you can still date online regardless of your STD status. MeetPositives.com is a site that gives a dating platform for people living with STDs. The following are useful tips to help you navigate the online dating world with an STD:
1. Disclose Your STD When You Are Ready, Prior To Having Sex’
Though you are a person who is all about honesty, too much information too fast might not be a good idea. Do not advertise your STD on your profile. Get to know the other person and look for the right time to disclose your STD status.
“Once things get serious or sexual activity becomes more likely, that’s when it's important to bring it up,” he says.
2. Understand Your STD
Clear communication will help a lot when you bring up the STD conversation. Just like you would not go into an interview without all the job’s facts right, this conversation needs you to understand your STD. Your partner will ask basic questions and it helps to have the answers ready.
“Bring it up in a way that doesn't stigmatize yourself,” suggests Bennett. “Educate your date on what it is, what it isn't, and what precautions you take to prevent its spread.
3. Be Ready For Questions
You cannot possibly talk about your STD infection and not face questions. Give your partner space to ask questions and actually encourage them to ask. Not being open to questions may complicate things.
4. Use Protection Strictly
This is an obvious point, yet, there are so many new infections happening every day. Talk about your STD and always involve the protection methods available to you. Use all measures to eliminate chances of infection including condoms and dental dams.
“The only [guaranteed] way to not transfer a sexually transmitted infection is essentially to abstain from sexual activity,” says Seth Cohen, MD, assistant professor of urology at NYU Langone Health. “But if you are smart about the protection you use, intimacy can still be enjoyable and safe between two consenting individuals.”