Jenelle Marie exclusive insight into the herpes dating site Positive Singles
Positive Singles the largest STD community and dating website established in 2001 a few months ago announced the launch of its new iOS app for iPhone, IPad and compatible for IPad Touch. The app offers users the ability to search for other singles with STDs close to where you live, chat room and chat room access so you can have the ability to chat with others, STD dating advice and the STD live counselor.
But did you ever want to know the inside scoop to the number one STD dating site or wonder what an STD expert has to offer regarding STDs and mobile apps. With that in mind I recently talked to a STD expert Jenelle Marie, spokesperson for Positive Singles, founder of the STD Project, and an STD expert who plans on stomping out STD stigma by promoting and encouraging awareness, education and acceptance.
I recently had the pleasure of talking with Jenelle for an expert opinion on STD’s, Positive Singles and mobile apps for STD dating. Here is that conversation;
First question: there are over 850,000 members worldwide on PositiveSingles.com, which is the most active and largest STD dating site. Why do you feel it is important for those with sexually transmitted diseases to use an STD dating site compared to regular dating sites?
Jenelle: Actually, we don’t feel that those who have been diagnosed with an STD have to exclusively use a site tailored to people with sexually transmitted infections; instead, we see it as a great first step after they’ve been diagnosed.
When someone is initially diagnosed with an STD, their self-esteem diminishes, and while the physical implications of an infection are either mild or manageable, the psychological implications are often devastating. It is because of services such as our own that people are able to feel confident and desirable again. Most users go on to form healthy, happy, long-term relationships both inside and outside of our platform. We view our services as that initial launch pad helping people to move forward confidently.
2) Currently there are no federal or few states with laws requiring a person to tell their partner they have an STD however, there are states in which they will prosecute a person for not informing their partner they have an STD. Do you think civil law suits for contracting an STD is good or not? Why or why not?
Jenelle: Many, but not all, states have laws that criminalize the transmission of at least some type of STD between people. These laws, and the penalties imposed by them, differ significantly among states. Though state laws differ, they typically include both HIV as well as other communicable or contagious sexually transmitted diseases. Some state laws list the individual diseases covered by name, while others use more general language that includes any type of communicable or sexually transmitted disease. Also, some states limit these crimes to the transmission of HIV, while others include HIV as one of the diseases covered by the law; yet others provide for additional penalties if the transmitted disease is HIV. However, it’s important to note that you can be convicted of the criminal transmission of an STD only if you cause someone else to be infected intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly. For example, if you have been diagnosed with an STD and later engage in sexual relations with someone else without telling that person you have the disease; you can be convicted of this crime if that person becomes infected. (A 2013 Georgia case dealt with that kind of scenario.)
At PositiveSingles, we respect the laws that are currently in place, and we believe in notifying all partners of any known or possible infections before putting them at risk. We talk a lot about when to tell a partner, how to tell a partner, and why thorough, effective, and healthy communication is necessary within both the boundaries of dating on our platform as well as within the general populace.
3) The Pew Research Center Survey last year had indicated 59% of American’s indicated online dating was a good way to meet people. Do you think people have the same feeling towards online dating apps for STDs?
Jenelle: Definitely! We are so excited about the new app. Mobility has come in leaps and bounds in recent years with smartphones and tablets being an extremely popular choice for internet browsing. Many studies have shown that smartphone and tablet users will be outnumbering PC users within the next one to two years, and with the increase in dating online as emphasized by the Pew Survey, we’re poised to grow with that trend by delivering a mobile app which will allow our users to fully leverage the PositiveSingles.com website from the palm of their hand.
4) STDs are continuing to rise with an estimated 15.3 million new cases. The internet and dating sites warn of STDs yet cases of STDs continue to rise. What reasons do you believe are behind the increase of STDs?
Jenelle: As per the most recent data from the CDC, in the U.S., there are an estimated 20 million new cases (likely, even, as the CDC stated, those numbers are much higher). Mostly, we believe STIs and STDs are on the rise because of a lack of consistent, comprehensive sexual education. People aren’t fully aware of their risks, how to negate them, and, as a result, their sexual health is not a priority. We are hoping to help stymie that trend by promoting awareness on a platform centered on support.
5) In April of this year Positive Singles announced the launch of the IOS version 3.40 app compatible with iPad and IPhone. What were the reasons behind launching an app?
Jenelle: The driving force behind the launch of our app was to stay ahead of the trend. We know how often our users are accessing our platform via mobile devices, and a mobile app makes their accessibility to social dating functions that much more seamless.
6) Do you feel that the app is attracting more users and why?
Jenelle: Yes – our app is fun, engaging, and designed with the user in mind. Our recent growth included an influx of mobile app users, and we see them utilizing a number of our services and support functions via the new app.
7) As we all know whenever something new comes out such as a phone app or computer program there are bound to be a few kinks here and there. Are there any known issues that need to be fixed that you are working on?
Jenelle: Right now, our emphasis is on expanding functionality to devices outside of the iOS brand. From there, we want to spend time understanding our user by generating feedback and focusing on how they navigate our support services and what functions we can add or adapt to improve their overall experience.
8) PositiveSingles.com is the number one community for dating and support of persons with STDs. What factors do you feel have influenced PositiveSingles.com to be the number one STD dating site?
Jenelle: The PS platform, while being an online dating site for people with STDs, is really more than that, and is a community for people with STDs to find love, advice, friendship, and support. It's a safe space. That is why it's had such continued success and growth, because people with an STD can find both partners and helpful resources that are otherwise scarce.
9) Currently the mobile app is only available on iPhone and IPad are there any plans in the future to offer the mobile app on more platforms?
Jenelle: Yes, great minds. See answer above.
10) PositiveSingles provides information on STDs. What STDs are people on the site are more interested in finding out about?
Jenelle: The majority of our members are living with longer or long-term viral infections - things like, HPV, HSV, HBV, HCV, HIV, or molluscum, for example.
11) With more and more persons contracting an STD, do you still feel they are stigmatized?
Jenelle: Unfortunately, yes. STIs and STDs are still highly stigmatized. However, sites like PositiveSingles.com and The STD Project are working to reduce that stigma through awareness, education, and acceptance.
12) Do you feel that in the future more people will be turning to apps for STD dating instead of the conventional website? Why or Why not?
Jenelle: We think people will be using both apps and mobile devices more often than they access the website through a conventional desktop or laptop; in fact, we’re already seeing that as more and more of our users log in securely via these modes. Naturally, as our mobile devices become more equipped to handle the things we enjoy doing while online; we’ll need conventional methods less and will opt for more convenient, trendier modes of socializing and dating.
13) If there is one piece of advice you could give someone with an STD what would it be?
Jenelle: My best piece of advice would be to become your own advocate. Educate yourself about your infection, about stigma and why it persists, about how to be sexually healthy, about how to communicate with potential partners, etc. Education is empowering. The more you know, they better you’ll be able to move forward confidently, and in doing so; you will have become your own advocate.
Positive Singles is not only an online dating site but a community of person who are enduring an STD including HIV, AIDS, and Herpes. Best of all you will not be stigmatized.
Positive Singles mobile app is available on: