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Antopia / MPwH

Category: STD

Antopia is a dating and friends network specifically geared towards people with Herpes and HPV (genital warts). You donít need to have the condition to become a member and there is a place within the profile where you can state you donít have it. But should you carry it, and youíve longed for a place where folks understand, empathize, and want to share their stories and lives, Antopia provides you with an outlet.

The site boasts over 39,000 members and while other dating sites claim memberships of over 1 million or more, none other is specifically for people with Herpes. 39,000 is a nice sized neighborhood to meet people who understand what most everyone who uses the site is dealing with.

While the number of people registered on the site is impressive, there are about 50 million Americans with the condition covering all age ranges. Though the condition causes rare physical harm, mention Herpes and the reaction is often more dramatic than mentioning AIDS. The social stigma is more harmful that the medical and for that reason many people with Herpes have given up on dating or socializing with anyone for fear of the reaction should the truth come out.

Antopia provides an avenue where people with Herpes donít have to feel that fear and can attain and maintain social contacts, even relationships. The opening page of the site is easy on the eyes and done in bold  pastels, with a welcoming message telling you how many people are registered on the site and how many are currently on line. You can navigate to the success stories to get an idea of how the site has helped people find friendships or relationships, or you can enter your gender and the gender of whom youíre looking for and your zip code to find those that match you in your area. You can also click to register on the site from this page.

Click to view

If you choose to join the site, you will fill out a registration form and an approval will be sent to your email address that will list your login and password. Once youíve completed registration and completed your profile, you will be taken to the "my MPwH"' page. Youíll be prompted to select a chat icon and a chat name that will be seen should you participate in any chat room conversation. From that page, all of Antopia awaits. You can enter the Maze, which is the foyer leading to different areas that might have chat rooms, guest books or chalk boards. There are literally dozens of areas in the maze including a chapel, a flirt room, and a dry cleaners. The meanings and purposes of these rooms have not all been defined, but they offer a chance for fun and connection with like minded members (who are listed on the room landing page).

Thereís also a search feature which letís you enter the criteria you might be looking for in a companion or friend. Itís a time saver so you wonít have to search through all the profiles of those who donít meet your criteria.

All throughout the site, there are a series of tips at the top of the page, submitted by site users to provide help and insight to making the site more friendly and effective for members. They have a really neat page called online members that gives the names and cities of the members who are online at the same time as you; some listings include photos and personal info. If you have the upgraded membership, which runs from $17 per month to $75 for the year, you can private message or "Pssst" someone on the list who appeals to you.

One other neat feature, out of many, is Small Talk. Itís a message board that feels like a Chat Room. It lists what members say and how long ago they said it, but you must have an upgraded membership to participate.

A free membership on Antopia will allow you to post a picture, video or audio ad. You can receive and respond to email from members. You also have limited access to bulletin boards and chat rooms. You can get access to the chat rooms, by having interesting information in your ad. That means information that would cause a member to click on your profile Ė itís almost like a reference Ė and it will allow you to see whatís going on. If you donít have interesting information then you will have to upgrade to have access to the chat rooms.

Overall, the site is simply put together without the high tech design seen on other dating sites, but the simplicity of the site doesnít block the unique purpose of the site, and the coolness in navigating The Maze. The people on the site seem to enjoy each other and there are enough success stories of how people met, fell in love, and married to demonstrate just how effective the site is in making people at ease enough to take a chance on themselves and each other. Thatís a hard enough trick to pull off if there were no health issues that could get in the way. Antopia brings people together and allows them to be who they are Ė and look for friendship, companionship, and love.

You should also try STDFriends which has the same idea as well.

So check out Antopia and do let me know in the forum if you have anything to tell me about it.