Rhode Island Health Officials Blame Uptick In STDs On Hookup Apps, Social Media

With the arrival of social media and online dating apps, it’s easier than ever to pick out someone you like and, if everything works out, perhaps meet that stranger in person. But what that convenience comes unwanted consequences, according to the Rhode Island Department of Health.

Officials note in a press release from the department that a recent uptick in sexually transmitted diseases in the state is part of a national trend toward using hookup apps and social media to romance prospects.

Rhode Island puts some of the blame for the increase in cases of syphilis, HIV and gonorrhea between 2013 and 2014 on “high-risk behaviors that have become more common in recent years,” including “using social media to arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters,” as well as the usual suspects — “having sex without a condom, having multiple sex partners, and having sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”

“These new data underscore the importance of encouraging young people to begin talking to a doctor, nurse, or health educator about sexual health,” said Rosemary Reilly-Chammat, an HIV/AIDS sexuality specialist for the Rhode Island Department of Education, in the press release.

This isn’t the first time the Internet has been linked to an uptick in STDs, notes CNNMoney (warning: link has video that autoplays). A 2013 study found that Craigslist was responsible for a 16% uptick in HIV cases between 1999 and 2008 across 33 states; and Grinder, a hookup app for gay men, was linked with more than half of all syphilis cases in New Zealand in 2012, according to Christchurch Sexual Health Clinic.

Tinder and hookup apps blamed for rise in STDs [CNNMoney]

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