US Doctors Say Syphilis Cases Have Spiked & Dating Apps Could Be The Cause
Syphilis and chlamydia are on the rise, and public health experts say this could be due to more sexual partners meeting through online dating apps.
The executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, David Harvey, recently said that infection rates are the highest they have been in 20 years.
And speaking to USA Today, Gail Bolan, the director of the Division of STD Prevention said this might be down to partners meeting through online services.
Bolan said: “The way our society is forming partners is now through using a lot of social media, and that is affecting the sexual transmission dynamics we are seeing.”
The health experts also said it is more tricky when it comes to interviewing people about any partners they have been with who could now be exposed to STDs, as it is harder to track down and notify them, if they met on a dating app.
Katherine Hsu, the medical director of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Division of STD Prevention & HIV/AIDS Surveillance, said: “People don’t know their sex partners as intimately as they once did; they may be individuals they know mostly through a profile photo and short blurb.
“Depending on the app, people may only identify themselves by first names or handles, though they often have the option of linking with their Facebook accounts.”
Hsu also stated that some people delete their profiles, so their partners are unable to tell them they may have been exposed to an STD.
This means a large percentage of users could be left unaware, aiding the spread of STDs.
Popular online dating app Tinder currently discusses protection measures that their users need to undertake, and also features a link to a CDC website featuring information on getting tested in the Safety Tips section of its site.
Grindr also has a Sexual Health FAQ on its site.
More recently a new website from Building Healthy Online Communities (BHOC) launched with the goal of providing a “central, go-to source for information and resources” for dating services looking to promote good health advice amongst their users.