|Dating Apps Increasing STDs
By: Jessica Cherok
Could technology be responsible for the recent rise in sexually transmitted diseases? According to at least one study done in Los Angeles, the use of Internet dating sites may be to blame for an increase in diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea.
The study looked at the number of infections affecting gay men who used online dating apps versus the number of infections of those who didn’t use apps. Those that did use apps had higher rates of infection. The study’s creators say that this is probably the result of the technology making sexual encounters easier and more frequent.
According to the researchers, "Advances which improve the efficiency of meeting anonymous sexual partners may have the unintended effect of creating networks of individuals where users may be more likely to have sexually transmissible infections."
Because the apps facilitate quick and brief encounters, many users may not have discussions around safe sex or practice safe sex as regularly as they would when meeting people outside of these apps.
One popular app, Grindr, told the BBC, “Grindr is highly committed to promoting safe sex within the community and strongly encourages our users to engage in safe sex practices, get tested and know their HIV status."
As the popularity of online dating and dating apps increases, continued discussion around safe sex and technology is needed.
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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