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In addition to providing their users with a more hospitable environment, these websites defuse the tension over how and when to disclose an illness, which is often an issue for people with diseases and disabilities who venture onto mainstream dating sites.Next Page: When health problems equal heartache [ pagebreak ]When health problems equal heartache After some “horrible” results on other dating websites, Lana joined Prescription 4 Love and the STD-specific site Y., has lived with schizoaffective disorder, a condition that combines features of schizophrenia and mood disorders (such as depression), since 1992.In 2004, after years of brushing up against the harsh realities of the dating scene, Leftwich founded No Longer Lonely, a dating site that caters to the mentally ill.Next Page: Love for less [ pagebreak ]Love for less Niche sites are also a lot less expensive.Prescription 4 Love, which started charging in May 2009, is .95 per month, while most of the features on No Longer Lonely (including the dating service and chat rooms) are still free.Getty Images Lana, a 38 year-old publicist in Los Angeles, was diagnosed with genital herpes in 1997.

Within her first week on Positive Singles, she went on three dates and has since gone on seven more, which fostered one romantic relationship and a friendship over the past two years. “I dont think I would have been able to have 10 dates without the site,” says Lana.

Let's face it: How do you drop that bomb on a potential love interest? She considered a number of online dating venues, but she says asked too many questions on its enrollment form, e Harmony was too "religious," and My Space was too much of a "hookup zone." "I wanted to meet men with my same diagnosis so we wouldnt [need to] have 'the talk,' or fear of rejection and transmitting," she says.

“Most of us with this don't wish to spread it.” Despite—or perhaps because of—the economic downturn, the billion-dollar online dating industry has been booming. While sites like and e Harmony don't discriminate, they also don't cater to people like Lana who are coping with sexually transmitted diseases, disabilities, or mental health conditions.

“People with disabilities, especially developmental disabilities, are typically behind the eight ball because they havent had the practice of dating in college or their young adult life,” says Watson.

“Many of them never had the puppy love, been broken up with, experienced the fights, or the good stuff.” To make up for this lost time, his best bit of advice is to be totally honest.

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