Herpes is a widespread sexually transmitted disease (STD) — around 12% of 14-49-year-olds in the US are infected with HSV-2, the virus that causes genital herpes. Despite how common it is, having herpes carries a stigma because of people’s stereotypes about the infection and miseducation about STDs in general.
This can make dating with herpes difficult, which is why herpes dating sites have grown in popularity. These sites help people with herpes find potential mates who aren’t weighed down by hesitancy, fears, or misapprehensions because they have an infection too. This eliminates some of the strain the diagnosis can have on budding relationships.
Using our guide, you’ll better understand how herpes dating sites function, what these sites offer daters, and which site will most help your love life. For those in a hurry, here’s a quick look at our findings.
Our 2023 recommendations for best herpes dating sites
- Best overall: PositiveSingles
- Best for discreet one-on-one connection: Meet Positives
- Best for community support: HWerks
- Best for a cheap premium trial: HSV Singles
PositiveSingles is our overall top choice for herpes dating sites. The large member population and community resources set it apart from the rest.
PositiveSingles has generated over 60,000 member-written success stories and millions of member conversations. Odds are in your favor here if you’re looking for love within the positive community.
- How we evaluated herpes dating sites
- How our top recommendations compare
- What are the pros and cons of herpes dating sites?
- Common features of herpes dating sites
- Are herpes dating sites safe?
- Meet Positives
- HSV Singles
- Herpes dating site FAQ
- Using mainstream dating sites: Disclosing your STD
- STD vs. STI: about the terms
- Why you should trust us
Winner: HSV Singles
It’s up to you to decide how much you’d like to invest in potential romance. How much you’ll pay and how often varies from site to site. We’ve done our best to demystify this process, so you know exactly what you’re paying for and how much it costs. Some sites allow you to browse for free with limited options, while others require payment upfront. Some provide cheap trial periods so you can try out the site before committing to a subscription. Others offer a web-based application and a phone app with differing prices.
Our top pick for cost is HSV Singles because you can try a 5-day premium trial for $1 per day. During the trial, you can use all site features, including searching, matching, and messaging to gauge whether this is the right site for you before making a commitment to a membership. If you decide to opt for a membership, you’ll pay the lowest monthly price of any of the sites in this guide at $25.
Your privacy is critical when it comes to dating with herpes. These sites know that your diagnosis is private and something you alone should choose to disclose. Because of this, they take many steps to protect your personal information, payment, and profile. Every site offers its variation on privacy settings so you can take control.
Searching and matching
Winners: Meet Positives and PositiveSingles
On all sites, you define your preferences and look through a list of profiles that match them. Where these sites differ is the preferences you’re able to set. Some sites only allow simple searches until you pay for a membership, while others filter searches with a free account. Most accounts require you to pay up before messaging anyone.
Meet Positives and PositiveSingles stand out for their searching and matching capabilities. Meet Positives allows you to set your match STD preferences while using the free or paid versions, so you’ll only see potential mates also living with herpes. Meet Positives also offers a service through Safe Connect that allows you to call, text, and video chat discreetly with other members (once you’ve paid for a subscription). PositiveSingles has extensive search features. You can use filters to narrow down matches, search in your area, and organize matches into lists. The site also suggests matches and shows you a list of new members who may interest you.
Online dating can be all about odds, and the more potential matches, the better your chances. We chose sites in this guide with large dating pools or selective and exclusive dating pools. For example, some sites boast large numbers, but many of those profiles may be inactive. Some sites take measures to ensure their members are invested in the process. We took both situations into account.
Our winner for dating pool size — hands down — is PositiveSingles. It’s an extensive and popular site, so it’s hard to beat their member size, including over 2 million active profiles and 2.5 million member conversations monthly. However, we’d also like to recognize HWerks in this category. While they don’t provide exact dating pool numbers, this site takes strides to ensure that members are serious about dating by requiring an upfront, lifetime membership fee of $56 before you can even create an account. This allows for a more exclusive experience with other members who are dedicated to looking for love.
You may be focused just on dating and romance, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, we also want to inform you about how herpes dating sites support you as a positive person. Many offer community resources, ways to connect and network, and opportunities for friendships beyond dating.
HWerks stands out in this category because, while dating is an element of the site, the overall goal of HWerks is to create a herpes-positive community. The site offers opportunities for friendship, networking, and community support through forums, secret social media groups, a newsletter, FAQs about herpes, and local, in-person support groups. Other sites on our list — like PositiveSingles and Meet Positives — also offer resources, but their offerings are not as robust.
|PositiveSingles||Meet Positives||HWerks||HSV Singles|
|Price for one month||$30||$30||$56 (lifetime membership)||$25|
|Cheap, premium trial?||
|Exclusively herpes dating?||All STDs||All STDs||Herpes and HPV||Herpes only|
Finding an exclusive online community of those also living with herpes can impact your dating life. We reached out to matchmaker and relationship expert Sameera Sullivan of Sameera Sullivan Matchmakers who tells us that a herpes dating site is “a haven that provides people with STDs a chance to interact with people who are going through something similar. It is a great way to feel less isolated.”
Here are a few pros and cons to using these sites:
- Meeting people living with herpes. This is the clearest asset of using a herpes dating site — meeting people in a similar situation. It lessens the worry and pressure around disclosing your STD status and creates a more welcoming environment.
- Less chance for discrimination. On a typical dating site — like Tinder or Bumble — you’re meeting people without knowing each other’s STD status. There is still a stigma due to misinformation and misconceptions about herpes. Using a herpes dating site reduces the possibility of facing prejudice because of your STD status.
- Community. Many herpes dating sites emphasize community-building in addition to romance. They offer services and resources to help you cope with your diagnosis, find help, or learn to navigate challenging situations with support from others like you. And when looking for love, a little community support never hurt anyone.
- HSV-1 vs HSV-2. Because herpes is a complex infection, you’ll encounter potential matches on dating sites that have either HSV-1 or HSV-2. Some sites even give the option to select “unsure” if the person doesn’t know what strain of herpes they live with. This can complicate matches and further limit viable partners.
- A smaller pool of potential matches. Because they are limited to those living with herpes, herpes dating sites won’t have as many potential mates as other dating sites. The exclusivity and supportive community can make up for the smaller dating pool.
Using herpes dating sites vs. STD dating sites
The main difference between herpes dating sites and general STD dating sites is STD status. All members of a herpes dating site are living with either HSV-1 or HSV-2. (Some herpes sites give the option for “unsure” if you don’t know which strain you’ve got.)
On a general STD dating site, you may encounter members who are living with a variety of STDs in addition to herpes. The most common STD options you’ll see when setting up a profile on a general STD dating site are:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Other STDs
You have the option on most STD dating sites to set search preferences where you can select which STDs are acceptable in potential matches. For example, if you are HIV-positive, you may filter your searches to only see other members who are also HIV-positive.
To learn more, check out our complete guide to STD dating sites.
Even though dating sites generally offer the same features, a few things make herpes dating sites stand out from the crowd. It’s important to know how these sites compare to help you decide which one may be the best option.
The sign-up process on herpes dating sites is pretty standard. Provide some basic information — age, location, gender, STD status — and set a username and password. Most sites require you to verify an email address and mobile number. Some sites require more than just basic info when you sign up to make your profile more robust.
These sites match you according to your dating preferences. Who do you want to be matched with? Indicate your preferred gender, age, location, STD status, and other preferences, and the site will deliver profiles that are ideal for you. Many sites also provide suggestions of profiles you might be interested in that didn’t appear in your search.
Creating a profile
Customize your profile to represent you and what you want. Whatever info you enter when signing up for a dating site can always be edited later. Many sites also have additional profile sections that you can fill out with more specifics — things like lifestyle, interests, appearance, and children. You can also upload more photos for prospective matches to view.
Browsing potential matches
Looking through profiles is part of the fun. Search based on your criteria and look at a listing of profiles you might like. But, you can also look at lists of new profiles, nearby people, suggested matches, and members who have viewed your profile. Many sites also have a “swipe left” or “swipe right” setup (similar to Tinder) to quickly indicate your interest in a stack of profiles.
You’ll also find supportive and welcoming communities of positive people on these sites. They offer community resources and opportunities to find friends, receive care, and get advice. Many of these sites are committed to helping herpes-positive people live fuller, healthier lives beyond dating.
Many sites ask or require you to upload a copy of a photo ID to verify your identity. Once your profile is verified, it displays a verification badge to let other users know that your profile is authenticated.
Some desktop sites include a quick exit button for discreet browsing. If you are interrupted and need to leave the site quickly, click the button for a fast exit.
Edit privacy settings
All herpes dating sites (and all mainstream dating sites) allow you to edit your privacy settings in your profile. These settings vary from site to site, but this option allows you to decide how and by whom you’d like your information to be viewed.
The privacy policies of most sites specify whether or not they share or sell your information to third parties. Most herpes dating sites don’t, but some may use third parties for marketing, research, or payment collection purposes. Educate yourself about the site you’ve chosen before creating an account.
Many herpes dating sites show up on your bank statement under a different name to preserve your privacy. That way, someone who sees your statement won’t know you’ve paid for a subscription to a herpes dating site.
- Reasonably priced premium membership
- Largest dating pool of any STD dating site
- Offers a robust mobile phone app in addition to a desktop version
- Community resources — dating advisor, STD Q&A, member blogs
- Privacy is paramount — uses various privacy features to protect your identity
- Your free account doesn’t offer much access
- Gender options are limited to woman, man, and couples
PositiveSingles is a well-known and thriving community of STD-positive people, many of them living with herpes. It has the largest dating pool of any STD dating site, with more than 2 million active members and over 2.5 million member conversations every month. You can browse 60,000+ success stories written by people who found love on the site. Though it doesn’t cater exclusively to the HSV community, our testing confirms that it’s likely to be your best choice. To learn even more, read our full review of PositiveSingles.
One of the best things about PositiveSingles is that it offers so many resources that can help you make the most of the site and your experience as a herpes-positive person. These resources include:
- Live customer support
- Live dating advisor
- Dating advice
- STD treatment stories
- STD care locations in the U.S.
- STD Q&A forum
- 24-hour chatroom
- Member blogs
Free vs. membership
Create an account for free, but pay for a premium membership if you want to experience everything the site has to offer.
- 1 month: $29.95
- 3 months: $59.95
- 6 months: $95.95
If you’d rather use the PositiveSingles app instead of the website, download it for free. Premium membership is a little more costly than on the site, but the app includes video chat and video calls.
- 1 month: $33.99
- 3 months: $69.99
- 6 months: $109.99
Insider Tip: Membership is well worth the price at PositiveSingles. With the standard (free) account, you can only search for members by location. Until you pay for a membership, you won’t be able to find other members living only with herpes. Also, a standard account only allows you to respond to messages from premium (paid) members. This means that if another standard member sends you a message, the message sits in your inbox until you pay up.
PositiveSingles makes it really easy. Provide some basics (gender, age, STD, etc.), upload a profile photo, and verify your mobile number and email address. Your main profile page includes a quick search of profiles and opportunities to check out other new members and profiles you might like. You can also:
- Discover other members
- Organize matches into lists
- Check out community resources
- Send and receive messages
- Edit your profile and privacy settings
PositiveSingles won’t provide, sell, or rent your personal information to third parties. If you use a debit or credit card, the charge shows on your statement as SuccessfulMatch, so no one knows exactly what you’re paying for.
Exclusively herpes dating sites from PositiveSingles
If you prefer a dating site that focuses only on herpes-positive daters, you can check out H Date. It’s run by PositiveSingles, costs the same, and has the same amenities and dating pool. Meanwhile, Meet People With Herpes (MPWH) is yet another herpes dating site run by SuccessfulMatch, the parent company of — you guessed it — PositiveSingles. Neither of these herpes dating sites made our top recommendations in this guide, but feel free to take a look if you want a more herpes-specific experience.
Best for discreet one-on-one connection
- Safe Connect allows members to text and call from an anonymous phone number
- Use the quick exit button for safe, confidential browsing
- Choose between two membership levels
- Extensive functionality with the free version — including searching for members with herpes
- Less community engagement than PositiveSingles
- No mobile app — it’s coming soon
- Limited gender options for profile and preferences — male, female, couples
Meet Positives’ goal is to ensure that members never need to have “the talk” with a partner again. They want users to match with people who are also living with an STD to alleviate the stress of disclosing their STD status. Like PositiveSingles, Meet Positives is not strictly a herpes dating site, but it does offer a few features that make it stand out as a good option for those hitting the dating scene with herpes.
- Private number calling, text messages, video calls
- Set STD preferences when using the free version
The most significant upside of Meet Positives is that it offers private number calling, text messages, and video calls on your mobile phone. Using an affiliate site called Safe Connect, Meet Positives provides you with an anonymous phone number. Use it to discreetly connect with other members, keeping your real contact info confidential until you feel comfortable sharing it.
Another draw of this site is that the standard (free) version allows you to perform a “living with” search. This means you can include which STDs you’re comfortable with partners having when searching for potential matches. This ensures that you match only with other members who are also herpes-positive. PositiveSingles unlocks that capability only with a paid membership.
Speaking of membership, let’s break down your options.
Membership and getting started
You have the option of two membership tiers that include different features and prices. With the Basic Connect plan, you can message other members, see your profile views, and perform local searches.
- 1 month: $29.95
- 3 months: $59.85
- 6 months: $89.70
- 12 months: $131.40
The Safe Connect plan includes all of the Basic Connect features plus private video chat, call, and text.
- 1 month: $45.95
- 3 months: $83.85
- 12 months: $215.40
- 24 months: $262.80
When you create an account, you’ll create a username and password and enter some basic information to build a profile. You’ll also provide and verify your email address and mobile phone number. Next, provide more specific info about your lifestyle, appearance, values, and habits.
There are many different types of searches you can perform from your profile homepage. You can perform a quick or advanced search using various preferences, like gender, age, location, ethnicity, religion, body type, etc. You can also perform a “living with” search to view only members with herpes.
Your profile sidebar provides quick access to other site areas and helps you organize your matches and messages. You can:
- Search people
- Send and receive messages
- Access account settings
Insider Tip: Some features on Meet Positives are still works in progress. For example, the mobile phone app is still labeled “coming soon.” Our testers found the community forum, member gallery, polls, events, groups, gift shop, and ticketing system pages mostly blank, except for a few groups. Some blog posts and other STD info exist on the MP homepage, but none can be accessed by creating an account.
You also have control over your personal info. Find a quick exit button at the bottom of each page for discreet browsing. In the Account & Settings tab, you can edit your personal information, including your email address and password, or permanently delete your account.
Meet Positives won’t sell or rent your personal info to third parties or affiliate sites. They anonymize site information for data aggregation and encrypt any personal information they collect to hide it from search engines. Only logged-in members can see your profile info. For online payments, Meet Positives uses Stripe, a secure payment service used by companies like Google and Amazon.
Best for community support
- Focuses specifically on singles with herpes and HPV
- A one-time, lifetime membership fee of $56
- Community resources — both online and in-person
- Receive access to secret social networking sites
- A smaller number of registered members than other sites
- You must pay the membership fee upfront before creating an account
HWerks bills itself as a community of people living with herpes and HPV. Even though one facet of the site includes dating and romance, your membership with HWerks provides much more. They offer members community support with features like chatrooms, forums, secret Facebook groups, and local support groups. The company started in 2007 and is committed to helping people with herpes and HPV live full lives, which can include romantic relationships.
HWerks doesn’t allow you to join without paying for a membership. This helps weed out people who aren’t serious about joining their community. They offer a lifetime membership for a one-time fee of $56.
Because they don’t offer a free trial or free version of their site, HWerks limits the number of “lurkers” and inactive profiles. Some online dating sites display such large numbers, but many of those profiles are inactive or fake. HWerks does its best to eliminate those issues.
When you sign up for an account, be prepared to pay the $56 fee. After providing some personal info and creating a username and password, you’re prompted to pay up.
In addition to dating, HWerks provides many features that members use for friendship, networking, and community support.
- Member chatroom
- Community forums
- Secret Facebook group — open to all members, other Facebook users won’t know you belong to it
- Local groups — click on your state or province to see herpes or HPV support groups and secret Facebook groups near you
- Other info — herpes FAQ, list of national events, and the HWerks newsletter
HWerks uses PayPal and Stripe for online purchases. These are two well-known, secure companies for online transactions. For your discretion, purchases show on your statement as HW Erks & Co. No one who views your account will know that it’s for an HWerks membership.
HWerks won’t share or sell your personal info to third parties, and it uses reasonable methods to keep your info safe.
Best for a cheap premium trial
- Offers a 5-day premium trial for $1 per day
- All members are living with HSV-1 or HSV-2
- Limited gender options (man, woman)
- No community support or other herpes resources
Unlike the other sites in this guide, HSV Singles is strictly a herpes dating site, meaning that all potential partners are living with HSV-1 or HSV-2. You don’t have to worry about selecting your STD status or your STD status preference in prospective matches. While this does limit the dating pool, it also creates a smaller, more exclusive community.
Another upside of HSV Singles is that the site lets you try out a premium account for a small fee before committing to a membership. The free version has limited functionality. A paid membership gives you access to all of the site’s features. Try it out for only $5.
You can create a profile for free — this includes searching profiles and matching with other users. If you upload an acceptable profile picture and fill out your profile at least 50%, you can message one other member for free. Otherwise, you’ll have to purchase a membership to message other users. Membership includes:
- Unlimited messaging
- Instant messaging
- Private browsing
- Access to all member photos
You can try a 5-day trial for $1 per day. This trial allows you to gain the benefits of a premium membership without having to make a long-term commitment. Of all of the dating sites in this review, HSV Singles is the only one that offers such an option. However, you can also purchase a longer subscription. Both options auto-renew unless you change your subscription settings in your profile.
- 1 Month: $24.99
- 3 Months: $49.98
To create an account with HSV Singles, enter some basic information and create a username and password. Once you create an account, the site prompts you to add more personal details like your name, profile photo, ethnicity, etc.
On your homepage, see a list of local matches — people who are nearby and match your basic search criteria. You can also view new profiles of other members who have just joined. There are many links and tabs on your homepage, including options to search, manage photos, browse user pics, edit your profile, and alter settings, among others. Click the IM chat bar at the bottom of the screen to see a list of currently online members. You can reach out to them with a private instant message.
HSV Singles does not share or sell your personal information to third parties without express consent. They store some of your details for marketing and data collection purposes. You have the right to edit what personal information you choose to disclose in your profile and to other members, and this is done at your discretion.
For online payments, the charge on your card will appear as DATINGCUSTSERV.COM.
How is dating with herpes different from dating without herpes?
If you have herpes, you can still have a successful dating life. The key difference between dating with or without herpes is that, when you are living with herpes, it’s important to eventually disclose that information to your partner, particularly if you plan to have sex. Sullivan tells us that those living with herpes should “first talk with their partner and discuss what you are both comfortable with. You can still have fun as long as you are safe.” When you disclose your STD is up to you, but most advisors suggest the sooner the better. Then you and your partner can educate yourselves on how to have sex safely and comfortably.
Can I safely have sex during a herpes outbreak?
If you have herpes and your partner doesn’t, it’s important to use condoms or dental dams during sex, whether you are experiencing an outbreak or not. If you have an outbreak with symptoms, it’s best to avoid sex until your symptoms abate. Having vaginal, anal, or oral sex when sores are present can transmit the virus to your partner, even if you use protection. If you and your partner are both herpes-positive, there is no transmission risk, so you can have sex during an outbreak if you’re both comfortable with it.
Sullivan tells us that outbreaks should be taken seriously, but it’s also important to be optimistic. She says, “If you experience herpes outbreaks, remember that they are only temporary. Herpes outbreaks can occur regularly or infrequently, depending on the type of virus you have, your immune system, and other factors — each person is unique.” She also encourages those with herpes to remember that there are often “months between outbreaks to enjoy an everyday dating life.”
How long after a herpes outbreak is it safe to have sex?
You should wait at least seven days after a sore heals to have sex again. Direct contact with sores can transmit the virus, so it’s important to wait for them to heal before sexual contact.
Does herpes get less contagious over time?
Once you contract herpes, you have it for life, which means that it remains contagious. Over time, outbreaks of herpes happen less frequently, especially if you take prescription medications to treat herpes. This means that you’ll notice fewer sores as time passes, but this does not mean the virus has weakened. You can still transmit herpes even when you don’t have symptoms.
What causes herpes to flare up?
Herpes outbreak triggers vary from person to person. However, there are several reasons why an outbreak may occur:
- Skin irritation (sometimes from the friction of intercourse)
- Hormonal changes
- Weakened immune system
Herpes dating sites may not appeal to all HSV-positive people. You might decide to try out Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, or another mainstream dating site or app. If you do, disclosing your STD to any potential partners is essential. There’s a lot of advice about how to approach this, but you should do whatever feels most comfortable for you. Sullivan tells us that mainstream dating sites are different from STD-based dating sites “because STD dating sites provide a safe mental space” that mainstream sites don’t necessarily offer.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Be direct. Let your partner know that you want to share your STD status before having sex. Let them know the type of STD you have and any details you feel comfortable sharing about your past sex life.
- Avoid defensiveness. It’s easy to want to defend yourself when you feel judged. If you create an open dialogue about your STD status and safe sex in general, your partner will (hopefully) respond without accusations or judgment.
- Respect boundaries. Give your partner space and respect any decision they make regarding your STD status. They may make a decision you don’t like – accept that they know what’s best for them.
- Answer questions. Someone not living with an STD might have many questions about what it’s like, how to stay protected, and transmission rates. Answer what you can and be open to doing some research to stay informed.
- Encourage testing. Talking about your STD status can open up a larger conversation about the importance of sexual health, including frequent STD testing. Learn about your partner’s status and encourage them to get tested as well. To learn more about herpes testing and your best at-home test options, visit our comprehensive guide.
Sometimes, you’ll see the terms sexually transmitted disease (STD) and sexually transmitted infection (STI) used interchangeably. They don’t mean the same thing, and there is still debate about which term is more appropriate. In this guide, we use the term STD because that’s the term our reviewed sites use.
For clarification: an STI can cause an STD. A “disease” presents symptoms, yet some infections are asymptomatic. Many people take issue with the word “disease” — its negative connotations contribute to stigma and misunderstanding about these conditions. The desire to reduce stigma causes some to prefer STI over STD.
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Like all health-related content on this website, this guide is thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy. Additionally, we extensively test and analyze each service we review. We evaluate the entire customer experience from signing up to using the product or service and then offer unbiased, marketing-jargon-free analysis based on the latest scientific evidence and medical standards.