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13-Jan-2020 13:05

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.

And while some of the new cases could be attributed to better testing, officials for the first time said STD rates were rising because of certain high-risk behaviors, including using online dating sites “to arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters.” Since then, the trend for several STDs nationwide has only gotten worse: According to a September report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 2 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis reported in the United States in 2016 — the highest cumulative number ever recorded.

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An even bigger issue, said Michael Weinstein, the president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, is that apps have also changed the modes of disease transmission in sexual networks, making it easier for infections to spread.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.“In Wyoming there are still no gay bars, but the internet makes it much easier for people to find each other.” But the data we have only demonstrates a correlation between online dating and STDs — not causation.Some of the best research on the sex lives of dating app users suggests they tend to have more sexual partners than non-app users.

An even bigger issue, said Michael Weinstein, the president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, is that apps have also changed the modes of disease transmission in sexual networks, making it easier for infections to spread.

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.

“In Wyoming there are still no gay bars, but the internet makes it much easier for people to find each other.” But the data we have only demonstrates a correlation between online dating and STDs — not causation.

Some of the best research on the sex lives of dating app users suggests they tend to have more sexual partners than non-app users.

The impact of these sites is so profound they are also transforming the way health officials track and prevent outbreaks.