It’s Friday night and you’re in the mood. That special kind of mood. So you unlock your phone and start swiping though faces on the hook up app of choice until you get a match. The messages begin and before you know it you’re driving to meet up and have a little casual fun.
Public health officials all over the country are in a frenzy. Cases of infectious syphilis have increased by 79 percent between 2013 and 2014. Gonorrhea cases have increased by 30 percent since the rise of hookup apps such as Tinder and Grindr. Since 2013 cases of syphilis have grown by staggering 79 percent and HIV infections increased by 33 percent followed by gonorrhea which has grown by 33 percent.
“It’s becoming more socially acceptable to have casual sex partners” said Lynn Beltran, an epidemiologist at the Salt Lake City STD Clinic. “For people who are interested in anonymous sex: it is right there at their fingertips.”
According to Stanford University’s Sexual Health Peer Resource Center, 1 in 4 college students now have an STD. That means just about every college student knows someone with an STD, and they may not even know it. A common misconception is that if someone looks “trashy” or “dirty” you can safely assume they have a STD but that’s almost never the case.
Recent statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Preventions also show that people between ages 15-24 account for more than half of the new STD diagnoses each year which in other words means young people are at very high risk and these hookup apps aren’t helping. A 2012 study by the Christchurch Sexual Health Clinic in New Zealand found that Grinder, a hookup app for gay men, was associated with more than half of all syphilis cases reported.
“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 Rhode Island Department of Education when interviewed by CNN.
These behaviors that include using social media and apps to arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters are leading to acts such as sex without condoms and promiscuity. A majority of people now say that apps like Tinder which have grown rapidly in recent years a good and easily way to meet people without having the stress of doing it in person.
This dramatic spike in STDs is sending a clear signal that young adults are becoming less aware and educated about sexually transmitted diseases and how easily they can catch them. There are still common misconceptions that birth control and spermicides prevent STDs or that you can cure and get rid of all STDs which are both untrue.
Teens and young adults are going to do what they want to do. They’re definitely going to have sex but they also need to start getting educated on the harms and effects of unprotected sex. If not, these statics will continue to worsen and pretty soon everyone you know will have one.
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