The past decade has witnessed the growth of niche dating websites – from Amish to Zombie enthusiasts – but a particularly burgeoning sector has been the proliferation of STI dating websites.

Now there are so many, there are Top 10 lists.

Many have taglines such as “Stay positive! Find Love, Support and Happiness” or “Plenty of Positive Fish”. Some sites, such as H-YPE or H-Date, are aimed specifically at people with the most common types of incurable STIs, such as herpes and HPV, which causes genital warts.

“If you have just been told you have herpes or HPV and you feel like your life is over, well, we are here to prove to you that it’s not. In fact, it’s a whole new start,” it says on H-YPE.

Others, such as PositiveSingles – which has 30,000 members in the UK, accumulating 100,000 new members last year worldwide – and DatePositive, which has more than 6,000 profiles, allow users to search for people with almost any sexually transmitted infection.

The rise in these dating sites coincides with increasing rates of STIs. There was a 2% UK rise in new cases from 2010-2011, according to the Health Protection Agency’s latest statistics. More than 100,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with genital herpes or HPV every year.

Meanwhile, there are about 20 million new STI cases each year in the US, and about 110 million in total, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

It means that entering the dating world with an STI is a reality for many. And the stigma can make it a daunting prospect.

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