The Danger in Dating Apps

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According to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, on April 3, 2016, there is a possible link between dating apps and the increase of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).  STD cases are increasing for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis nationally as well as in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.  The Medical Director of the Allegheny County’s STD and HIV program noticed about two years ago a troubling trend among his patients.

They were volunteering that many of their partners were unknown because they met them through dating apps and it was anonymous,” he said. Apps like Tinder, OkCupid and Grindr, that allow people to scroll through dozens or even hundreds of photos of possible potential dates in a given area within a matter of minutes,” according to Harold Wiesenfeld. In fact, many of Wiesenfeld’s patients believed they had contracted those STDs through these anonymous partners.

You can read more about these alarming and dangerous trends in the Post-Gazette article:

The sharp increase in STDs in Allegheny County, seen in cases of Gonorrhea (up 28 percent) and Chlamydia (up 35 percent), rose between 2006 to 2014. Chlamydia infections are associated with ectopic pregnancy. Chlamydia, though often silent and asymptomatic when present, especially in men, can scar the fallopian tubes of women and increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy. Further, of greater concern to health officials, is the rate and rise of Syphilis, which is up 150 percent since 2009. Syphilis can result in long-term health issues, particularly for women who want to get pregnant, and their fetus, if they are pregnant.

Pregnancy Medical Clinics, especially those who offer both STD testing and treatment, are well positioned to educate and alert their patients to this increase in STDs, the potential for serious and long-term health consequences of these diseases, and the risks involved in anonymous hookups through these dating applications.

Audrey Stout, RN, RDMS, NIFLA Vice President for Medical Services