Has the Dating App Culture Led to a Rise in STDs?
Have you swiped left or right lately? Chances are, you probably have. Even if you aren’t an active Tinder or Grindr user, you’ve at least heard of the popular dating apps. Your best friend most likely even has a wild Tinder story to tell.
In this day and age, dating apps are the go-to way to have a good time. Whether you’re actually interested in going on a date, or simply want a no-strings-attached anonymous hook-up (no judgment here!) it’s easier than ever with online dating apps.
But, it’s important to remember that “no-strings-attached” sex isn’t always possible. Especially if you don’t really know the person you plan on sleeping with. Let’s pause for a second to really think about it. That guy from Tinder you met up with last Saturday night? Yeah, the hottie with the killer blue eyes and the man bun. Does he have an STD? Your immediate instinct may be to scream no, but, are you sure? Did you ask? Did the thought even cross your mind? If the answer is no, don’t panic. You’re not alone. In the age of hookup culture and “swiping,” it’s all too easy to forget about STDs. But that cutie with the man bun is a virtual stranger and you may have just exposed yourself to an STI – even if you used a condom.
How Dating Apps and STDs Are Linked
STDs are more prevalent than ever in 2017, with STD rates on the rise, and some experts believe that may be linked to the popularity of dating apps. Let’s look at the facts. “The total combined cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis” have reached an all-time high in the United States, especially among young people. And, half of all new STD cases are found in those between the ages of 15-24. It just so happens that is the target age of dating app users. While that alone isn’t enough to say that dating apps have caused a rise in STDs, there is a common belief among many researchers, including Dr. Harold Wiesenfeld of Allegheny County’s sexually transmitted diseases and HIV program, that the popularity of dating apps is “facilitating more casual sexual encounters.”
There have even been studies done that seem to prove this point. In 2014, the Los Angeles LGBT Center published a study that found when “compared with men who met partners online or in person, men who used social apps had 25 percent greater odds of being infected with gonorrhea and 37 percent greater odds of being infected with chlamydia.” According to The Huffington Post, the lead researcher for the study acknowledged that these findings can’t be used to prove that dating apps result in STDs, as there are many other factors to consider. However, he did say that his findings show that “even though these apps make meeting sexual partners more efficient, they could also have the ‘unintended effect’ of creating a network of individuals who are at a higher risk to contract STIs.”
At besafemeds, we think that’s the important thing to take away from all of this. While there have been many conflicting reports and a variety of different opinions on whether or not dating apps can be proven to have caused a rise in STDs, they have made it easier to find an anonymous hookup. And as with every hookup, there are risks. So, it’s more important than ever to be sure you’re practicing safe sex and taking all the necessary precautions – especially if you’re using dating apps.
We don’t want to discourage you from meeting up with that cute girl or guy from OkCupid or Hinge, but we do want to make sure you’re prepared. Here are a few things to consider/keep in mind before you go on that Tinder date tomorrow night.
Using a Dating App? Keep These STD Tips in Mind:
- Educate yourself on the different types of STDs, especially the three with the highest STD rates: syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.
- Be aware that you can still get STDs from oral sex. Check out blog to learn which STDs are spread orally and the precautions you can take.
- Have an open and honest conversation with your partner before you have sex. It may be awkward, but it’s important to know if you could be exposing yourself to an STI. Need a little help? We put together 5 tips for talking with your partners about STDs.
Not sure if you’ve been exposed to an STD? Besafemeds is here for you. Fill out our online diagnostic form to speak with a licensed doctor or nurse practitioner and receive private STD treatment.‹ Back to Blog