An “epidemic” of sexually transmitted diseases in the US has been blamed on hook-up apps like Tinder and Grindr.
The Rhode Island Department of Health released data that showed a significant increase in reported cases of STDs from 2013 – 2014.
Their report shows a 79% increase in syphilis, and a 30% increase in gonorrhoea, while the number of newly-identified cases of HIV increased by nearly 33%.
The causes of this worrying increase in STDs are likely to be multi-factorial, but the Rhode Island Department of Health attributes a significant portion of the blame to ‘hook-up’ apps that facilitate easy, and often anonymous sex.
The report also found that new cases of HIV/AIDS and infectious syphilis continued to increase among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men at a faster rate than in other populations.
Infection rates of all STDs continued to have a greater impact on the young adult, African-American, and Hispanic populations.
"These data send a clear signal that despite the progress we have made in reducing STDs and HIV over the years, there is more work to do," said Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, Director Designee at HEALTH. "We are fortunate in Rhode Island to have great partnerships among state agencies, community-based organizations, and healthcare providers to continue to educate, test, and treat for sexually transmitted diseases. This trend reminds us that we cannot become complacent."
The recent uptick in STDs in Rhode Island follows a national trend. The increase has been attributed to better testing by providers and to high-risk behaviours that have become more common in recent years. High-risk behaviors 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.