(CNN) -- When John got divorced after 12 years of marriage, he took a deep breath and launched into the dating scene."And wham, with my very first girlfriend, I caught herpes," he says.
"You feel betrayed and all of a sudden separated from the rest of the world.
In the summer of 2011, I was dating a very nice, clean-cut boy on leave from the military who performed oral sex on me, resulting in a few herpes bumps a week later.
I don’t remember seeing anything on his face that day.
If ok, want to jump on my soapbox for a second, if anyone reading this has herpes, do the right thing, let people know. As far as genital herpes goes, we’re talking 20% of the population.
One of the most difficult things I had to do was call former boyfriends I may have exposed (think it was dormant in my system for quite sometime, I honestly did not know). I think all the readers should take a second to put themselves in your shoes for a moment. That’s 50 MILLION people, a majority of whom don’t even know they’re infected.
After finding out from the doctor at the hospital who flipped me over, lacerated the bumps and bottled the liquids for analysis, I immediately texted said boy and told him to get checked out, because I had some type of herpes.
And the growing number of people in similar situations has created a new industry: Internet dating sites just for people with STDs.
Many STIs don't.)Jenelle Marie Davis, founder of The STD Project, which aims to eradicate the stigma, said people often call her organization after a diagnosis, worried about what it means for their dating life."Folks just believe that they will never be able to date again," Davis said.
"It's terrifying initially."But in reality, they are not alone — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 110 million sexually transmitted infections exist in the U. In more than 20 years as a San Diego licensed marriage and family therapist, Sarah Cook Ruggera said nearly everyone she encounters has some type."They're hesitant to disclose, share, because of the shame factor," she said.
Bringing up sex before, well, having sex can be awkward.
There's the potential of being presumptuous — maybe the person sitting across from you stirring her cocktail has plans to go home and watch Netflix, not continue the night with you.