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Just because a product is built for women doesn’t make it feminist, and just because a product is built for people with STIs doesn’t mean it serves our causes.

What we need is better sex education and health care, access to therapy and more representation.

Let me be very clear: I will never endorse an STI dating site. STI dating services would make great hacking targets in an online landscape where vigilante justice is all the rage and people with STIs are unsympathetic victims (whaddup, Ashley Madison). But here’s the big, huge, important fucking reason I’ll never support a herpes dating service: these products contribute to herpes stigma.

A booming app industry in Silicon Valley means that new STI dating services pop up every few months, and a cursory Google search means that their marketing team, or their founder, or their intern, quickly discovers me. As time goes on and stigma lessens, there will be less of a demand for these services.

Having a minor skin condition in common is a shoddy foundation for a healthy relationship.

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.

You cannot say your service fights STI stigma when it relies on stigma to exist.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. It’s time to talk about herpes dating websites and how much I hate them.These websites enable the self-segregation of the H community in a way that I believe contributes to our invisibility and inertia. Some of these websites claim to empower their customers.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. She wanted me to become a spokesperson, and when I refused, someone higher up in the food chain emailed me again. But then the same thing happened again with another STI dating site, and then another, and another. I don’t think any STI dating service is going to reinvent the wheel and be successful when so many have tried and failed in the past. One of the first emails I received when I went viral way back in April 2015 was from a woman claiming to work for Positive (I say claiming because she wasn’t using a Positive Singles email address). I don’t want to endorse a product I would never personally use.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.

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