Sex disease surge in US state partly blamed on hook-up apps

Authorities undecided on name: Sexual health scare 2.0 or Clap from an App

‪Tinder, Grindr and other mobile "hook-up" apps have been blamed for a spike in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the US state of Rhode Island.‬

From 2013 to 2014, infections of syphilis increased by 79 per cent, gonorrhea cases rose 30 per cent and new HIV diagnosis increased by about a third, according to data from the Rhode Island Department of Health. Hook-up apps may be partially to blame, according to officials, who also noted that other "high risk" behaviours and better medical testing may be also be factors in the rise.

High-risk behaviours 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”, agency officials said in a health alert.

Infection rates of all STDs continued to have a greater impact on the African-American, Hispanic and young adult populations.

Importantly, the health department noted a national increase in STDs, Time adds.

Rhode Island is unusual in singling out concerns that social media hook-up apps might encourage unsafe sex and therefore increase the spread of STDs. However, the interwebs have long been blamed for periodic increases in cases. For example, way back in 2000 an article in The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that an outbreak of syphilis around that time was linked to the amorous goings-on in a San Francisco chat room. ®

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