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To be honest, it was a drunken idea that struck me one night – I always wanted to help so I started doing research about STDs: what information are people searching for? Ultimately, the goal is to help people through storytelling.

Storytelling is the component I don't see much of – there's lots of clinical and factual information, but no one talks about how to deal with the social ramifications of herpes or STDs, how to tell your partner, etc. I don’t know if he didn’t know how to break the news to this 16-year-old girl in his office. Saying it was the worst case he had seen was just ridiculous.

Others just write, “I have herpes” in their profiles, and Davis says her friends in this camp still have plenty of people knocking on their online-dating doors.

You can have great sex, find love, and also cut down on the chance of passing herpes along to your partner, Triplett says.

But all the self-acceptance in the world doesn’t erase the fact that a herpes diagnosis creates ripple effects of shame and social isolation, and the fallout is especially pronounced when it comes to your dating life.“It’s good to have the conversation because there is a potential risk of transmission,” Cherrell Triplett, M.

D., an ob/gyn who practices at Southside OBGYN and Franciscan Alliance in Indianapolis, Indiana, tells SELF.

Some people put an incognito message in their profiles on general dating sites, writing out 437737—it spells “herpes” on a dial pad—in their profiles.Davis wants people to know that being diagnosed with an STD is not a death sentence, and people are fully capable of leading rich, diverse, fulfilling and successful lives. Jenelle Marie Davis: It started back in April 2012.We chatted with Jenelle about becoming an STD advocate, The STD Project and being the face of dating with STDs. I was 29 at the time and working full-time as an accountant. Since then, we had over 2 million people come to The STD Project website and we are planning to launch 11 additional sites to expand our reach."I thought nobody is going to love me, I’ll never get married or have kids," Davis tells .It took years before she came to terms with her diagnosis by doing research and trying to understand what is fact and what is fiction when it comes to dealing with STDs (sexually transmitted diseases).Jenelle Marie Davis, 34, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, will gladly explain why having herpes isn’t the end of the world. It took years for Davis, founder of The STD Project, which encourages awareness and acceptance of various sexually transmitted diseases, and spokesperson for Positive Singles, a dating site for people with STDs, to come to terms with the diagnosis she got at age 16.“My mom says the entire way home from my appointment, I cried and said no one would ever love me, no one would ever want me, and I’d never get married,” Davis tells SELF.

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