Dating for std
Health officials in states around the country have linked recent STD outbreaks to the rise in internet dating.
In one study looking at the link between Craigslist personal ads and HIV, researchers at the University of Minnesota identified an increase in HIV cases in 33 states between 19 — and determined that the advent of Craigslist alone contributed to a 16 percent increase in cases.
His group, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, has put up billboards and bus ads showing silhouettes of people kissing with the names of dating apps (Tinder and Grindr) and STDs, in the hopes of sending the message that encounters originating online can lead to infections.
Tinder responded with a cease-and-desist order, but settled with the foundation in January 2016 after agreeing to add a health safety section to its website.
They do as little as possible.” (Both Grindr and Tinder declined to comment on this story, and Tinder pointed me to its website’s “dating safely” advice section.) Just as ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft have disrupted transportation — and required new regulations and cultural adaptations — dating sites have disrupted the way people have sex.
Health advocates say it’s time they acknowledge that impact — and begin to help fight the STDs they may be helping to spread.
These places, after all, had become important meeting points for men who have sex with men — the group most affected by the HIV epidemic.
Today, the public health focus has shifted to “digital bathhouses." Wohlfeiler said, “Now that dating sites and apps have become so common, we know we need to work with them." There’s just one problem: Many of the major dating networks don’t want to be involved in STD prevention, nor have they acknowledged the impact they’re having on public health.
making that hip and cool is something the apps could help with a great deal,” said Weinstein.
As health experts learn more about the links between high-risk behavior enabled by dating apps and STD outbreaks, they’re finding that apps make the work of tracking cases harder to do.
In particular, according to John Auerbach, president and CEO of the public health nonprofit the Trust for America’s Health, the anonymous encounters happening via apps make it harder to do contact tracing, a key epidemiological process in understanding an outbreak.
“Because these are closed pools of people in limited geographies [using dating apps], it means that infections can spread more easily,” he said.
“That’s why we call apps a ‘digital bathhouse.’” That’s also why public health officials are so eager to work with apps, to get them to add warnings and sexual health messages where users are convening — on the apps themselves.