Your phone can do anything these days — order you a pizza, give you directions to Hollywood, or tell you the score of the game you missed. It’s also a conduit for which you can more easily meet people that infect you with syphilis, HIV, gonorrhea, and chlamydia, a study found. Specifically, dating apps like Grindr, which target homosexual males, are blamed with a rising increase in STDs both in the United States and abroad.
According to Peter Greenhouse of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, the apps are to blame because they allow people to “hook up” nearly instantly. According to the Daily Mail, Greenhouse was forthcoming about his opinion on the rising STD rates.
“You don’t have to be a genius to work out that these sorts of apps make having casual sex a damn sight easier. You can find, down to a meter or two, the nearest available person who is interested. This is something that just hasn’t been available before. Thanks to Grindr or Tinder, you can acquire chlamydia in five minutes.”
It’s not only a problem in the United Kingdom — the United States has seen its share of increased cases as well, and has concluded that apps may be responsible for the rise, too.
A 2014 study by the Los Angeles LGBT Center directly compared mobile apps use to STDs. The researchers found that gay and bisexual men who met their partners through dating or “hook up” apps such as Scruff or Grindr had a 25 percent greater chance of being infected with gonorrhea and 37 percent greater odds of getting chlamydia than men who met partners elsewhere, such as at the bar or at work.
One of the many problems with these STDs is that they are asymptomatic for many years or even forever, and the risk is much greater for women, who may be getting the STDs from bisexual male partners. Gonorrhea and chlamydia both can be completely without symptoms in men and women, but cause an alarmingly high rate of infertility among those women infected because they scar fallopian tubes. Studies estimate that as many as 5 percent of U.S. females are infected with chlamydia at any one time.
No matter how you choose to date, it is always a good idea to wear condoms with each sexual partner each time you have sex and get tested regularly for STDs. Those who use dating apps may want to get tested more frequently if they have concerns.