Health

Health Experts: Dating Apps, Social Media Cause STD Numbers To Rise

| by Michael Allen
Vintage STD Poster.Vintage STD Poster.

Health experts are warning that cellphone dating apps and social media are contributing to a rise in casual sex and sexually transmitted diseases.

The Rhode Island Department of Health recently stated that syphilis increased in the state by 79 percent, gonorrhea by 30 and HIV by nearly 33 from 2013 to 2014.

The health department said in a press release:

"High-risk behaviors include using social media to arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters, having sex without a condom, having multiple sex partners, and having sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol."

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Nicole Alexander-Scott, director designee of the health department, stated:

"These data send a clear signal that despite the progress we have made in reducing STDs and HIV over the years, there is more work to do. We are fortunate in Rhode Island to have great partnerships among state agencies, community-based organizations, and healthcare providers to continue to educate, test and treat for sexually transmitted diseases. This trend reminds us that we cannot become complacent."

The state's health department added that increases in HIV, AIDS and syphilis are higher among men who have sex with men than in other demographic groups.

Dr. Rosemary Gillespie, chief executive of Britain's Terrence Higgins Trust, told the Daily Mail:

"Dating apps have given people more opportunities to meet potential partners than ever before, and we are currently looking at their impact on gay men's sexual health.

"In the meantime, it is really important that the safer sex message stays strong, and that people know how to protect themselves and their partners.

"Apps themselves have a role to play in delivering this message, and we currently work with a number of them on this."

Sources: Daily Mail, Rhode Island Department of Health
Image Credit: WellcomeImages.org