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When she realised she liked him, she asked her health adviser what to do.
'She said, "Just say to him, 'I have HIV,' and don't add anything. He might need time to think about it." Of course, I have had years to deal with my HIV status, and you can't expect someone to know what they feel about it after a few hours.'Luckily, Andrew wanted to pursue the relationship, and the couple eventually married.
Dating when you have an incurable sexually transmitted infection is a fraught business, with sufferers facing ignorance, humiliation and rejection. When Jessica, then a 35-year-old single mother of two, was diagnosed with genital herpes, she found herself facing all of these questions. With visits to British genito-urinary medicine clinics doubling to 1.8 million between 20, and rises in the recorded cases of genital herpes, human papilloma virus (HPV) and HIV, increasing numbers of women are having to navigate the complex world of dating with a sexually transmitted infection (or STD, sexually transmitted disease, as it is also known).
Three women talk to Louise Millar about their experiences – and an initiative that offers new hope Dating can be complicated enough at the best of times. With one man she decided to leave it two weeks before telling him. Jessica contracted herpes from a long-term partner who had omitted to tell her about his condition.
I definitely feel this is a way forward to meeting someone.'In the meantime, she would like to see an end to the widespread ignorance about STIs, herpes in particular.
'It's time people realised having herpes is not the end of the world. But it would help if the rest of society changed its attitude, too.'Christine Webber believes that many women with STIs need to challenge their own preconceptions.
I found out afterwards he was desperate to experience sex without a condom again. I felt dirty and contaminated and disgusted with myself.
It was like having leprosy.'Now 51, Jessica is single again, having spent 15 years dating with herpes.Now we have 3,000 members and it's growing all the time.'Some of Caygill's female members told her about their fear of rejection.'Many have been judged harshly - more so than men,' she says, 'and even been accused of being "loose women".'I felt it was better I met someone the same status as me.' She joined Date Positive and 'found a whole new world.
At the beginning it was great meeting people - men and women - on the site who really knew what I was going through.You have to make sure you have condoms everywhere - in the bedroom, in the kitchen and so on.