Dating apps like Tinder and Grindr have become popular across college campuses and have taken lives by storm.
The apps boast GPS features that connect us with others.
Some people search for relationships, but others are looking for a good time. As of January 2015, about 1.5 billion Tinder profiles were viewed and over 21 million matches were made per day.
The mass use of dating apps has created cause for concern according to public health officials. Recent research linked the rise of sexually transmitted infection cases with the use of mobile dating apps.
Dr. Ian Simms, from Public Health England, found evidence that dating apps are to blame in the investigation of six regional outbreaks of syphilis in Britain since 2012. He said technology makes it possible for previously contained infections to spread quickly, leading to hyper-efficient transmission.
Peter Greenhouse from the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, told Daily Mail, “Thanks to Grindr or Tinder, you can acquire chlamydia in five minutes.”
Syphilis, an infection that became very uncommon after the discovery of penicillin, has dramatically increased in the western world. There are about 16,500 cases of syphilis each year.
The general trend of having many sexual partners from dating apps increases the risk of exposure to infections. Although it cannot be proven that dating apps are directly linked to the increasing rates of STIs, it doesn’t hurt to be cautious.
Remember to talk to your sexual partners about their previous partners and if they were recently tested. Although it can be an awkward conversation, receiving a call from a health care provider saying you have an STI would be even more awkward.
Take preventative measures and get yourself tested even if you don’t have any symptoms. Often times, STIs don’t show symptoms for weeks.
UWSP Health Services is holding free walk-in testing on Monday, April 6th from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.