We live in an insane technological world, where with just a few clicks on a smartphone, we possess the luxury of meeting someone entirely new. With that luxury, however, comes risk.
The Rhode Island Department of Health is attributing part of the state’s sharp increase in sexually transmitted diseases to hookup apps like Tinder and Grindr.
Between 2013 and 2014, syphilis cases in Rhode Island rose by 79%, while gonorrhea cases rose by 30%. New HIV cases, meanwhile, spiked by 33%, according to a state press release.
Young adults are the group most affected by these statistics. Those between the ages of 15 and 24 made up most new cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea.
A written statement by the department says that in addition to increased testing, “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” were all to blame for the state’s STD epidemic.
In order to combat the increased spread, The Rhode Island Department of Health is assisting in funding programs to broaden sexual health awareness and implement safe-sex seminars within schools.
An HIV/AIDS Sexuality Specialist for the department, Rosemary Reilly-Chammat, explained:
“These new data underscore the importance of encouraging young people to begin talking to a doctor, nurse, or health educator about sexual health before becoming sexually active and especially after becoming sexually active.”
The uptick in STD cases are in line with a national trend, the department said. A 2013 study conducted by New York University linked a 16% increase in new HIV cases across 33 states to Craigslist.
With all of this in mind, the next time you meet up with someone you’ve swiped right to, remember to be careful and protect yourself.