Rhode Island public health officials reported this week that online dating apps such as Tinder and Grindr led to a surge in sexually transmitted diseases statewide.
The report was issued by the state’s Department of Health and it is consistent with other finds about social media influence on the prevalence of STDs across the world. Researchers explained that anonymous hookups and casual sex with multiple partners resulted in a STDs outbreak in recent years.
Rhode Island’s Department of Health also disclosed that in only one year (2013-2014) syphilis cases jumped 79 percent, while gonorrhea and AIDS cases increased by more than 30 percent. Moreover, the group with the highest risk of getting STDs are young adults, researchers found.
Statistics issued by Rhode Island state agencies show that the STD outbreak is a national phenomenon. The health department underlined several high-risk factors that contributed to the current situation. The first on the list were hookup apps or social media that make it easier to have casual sexual encounters with strangers of all types.
Tinder declined to comment on the report.
The recent findings confirmed other studies on STD spread across the planet. In 2013, the New York University disclosed that Craigslist was the main culprit for the surge in HIV infections in more than 30 states between 1999 and 2008. During that period, new cases jumped by 16 percent.
In 2012, the Christchurch Sexual Health Clinic from New Zealand found that Grindr was linked to a big boost in syphilis cases in the country.
Rhode Island’s Department of Health deemed the use of anonymous hookup sites or social media a “high-risk behavior”. Other factors that may contribute to the STD outbreak are alcohol or drug use, sexual encounters with multiple partners or lack of condoms.
Health officials explained that STDs can lead to life-long health problems if they are left untreated. Additionally, a person that has an STD can transmit the disease to their sexual partners even when there is only a skin-to-skin contact.
The health department recommended that people who are sexually active use condoms and be aware that contraceptives and spermicides do not shield them from STDs. You should also get STD and HIV tested on a regular basis if you are engaged in sexual activities regardless of your age.
Authorities also recommend you should know your partner’s STD history before starting a sexual intercourse. Also if you are under medication for an STD, you should refrain from having sex until you GP gives you the green light to do so. Be wary that you can still have an STD relapse if your partner wasn’t treated for the disease you had undergone medical treatment.
Image Source: Bloomberg
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