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They do not listen to the needs and opinions of this community, and they take funding and attention away from real efforts to provide treatment and testing, and to de-stigmatize sexual health. They send a progressive message to no one. She wanted me to become a spokesperson, and when I refused, someone higher up in the food chain emailed me again.

Get my name outcha mouth and get off my lawn. Be honest and tell your partner about the virus, but at an appropriate time. All your personal information can remain private and anonymous until you want to take things further.

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Having a minor skin condition in common is a shoddy foundation for a healthy relationship. One of the first emails I received when I went viral way back in April was from a woman claiming to work for PositiveSingles. We are not on the same side of this war.

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The virus becomes less important and who you are as an individual, you know, your personal, quirks, likes and dislikes, are elevated. You are not required to submit any information that would make you uncomfortable. They reinforce the impulse of scared, raw people to hate themselves and hide from the rest of the world.

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These companies are nothing but vultures, co-opting the language of activism. They say to the rest of the world that we belong apart, that we are less than, that we are a hilarious PositiveSingles punch line. Denying that is intellectually dishonest. Persons appearing in photographs may not be actual members.

But they are just as often predatory environments where newly diagnosed men and women but usually women are bombarded with attention. They reach out to me, share my posts and my talks on their social media platforms, and contact my fellow activists when I refuse to collaborate with them. For whatever reason, our society still attaches a lot of shame undoubtedly stemming from ignorance about herpes and those with the virus. Not to mention that people with herpes are diverse.

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What we need is better sex education and health care, access to therapy and more representation. This Silicon Valley opportunism is antithetical to real social change and progress.

Herpes dating apps rely on, profit from and contribute to the social stigma that I am absolutely against. Maybe some people use them as a transitional tool before re-entering the wider dating sphere, and hey, cool, downriver dating site whatever. These folks would be better served by a support community than a dating app.

More important than how widespread the virus is, is the lifestyle that comes along with it. These entrepreneurs may believe they have our best interests at heart, but they will never understand the stigma as well as someone who lives with it. The options for self expression are impressive, with the ability to upload an unlimited number of profile pictures and even add a video introduction.

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Here are a few basic reasons. When you round up a vulnerable and isolated population, create a community space and fail to moderate it or protect your users, you create a dangerous environment. 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. Other data are for illustrative purposes only.