Dating apps could be increasing the rates of sexually transmitted infections

Monday 02 November 2015 12:20
Science and Tech

Rates of sexually transmitted diseases have increased thanks to the prevalence of online dating apps, the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) has claimed.

Public Health England records show that STIs like syphilis and gonorrhoea spread in 2014 and a leading medical expert has warned that an "explosion" of HIV could soon follow.

With an estimated 25-40 per cent of new relationships starting on dating apps, campaigners and healthcare professionals are now calling on the companies to raise more awareness around sexual health.

Dr Peter Greenhouse, one of the UK's leading sexual health doctors, told BBC Newsbeat:

You are able to turn over partners more quickly with a dating app and the quicker you change partners the more likely you are to get infections.

What really worries me is that we are just at a tipping point for HIV. If enough people change partners quickly, and they've got other untreated sexually transmitted infections, it might just start an explosion of HIV in the heterosexual population. Apps could do that.

However, Marie Cosnard, head of trends for Happn, doesn't think that apps are necessarily to blame:

Dating apps are following wider social trends and changing behaviours that have been unfolding for decades - there's a liberalisation of attitudes towards the number of partners, the status of relationships, towards marriage, divorce, etc.

So the rise of any STD is not really connected to dating apps themselves. The problem is much wider. People need to be more educated in terms of sexual health and to take their responsibilities, no matter how and where they've met their partner.

The survey estimates that as many as two new dating apps now open each week in the UK with specialist ones for threesomes, swingers, religious groups, affairs and even ones that reveal your STI status before you meet.

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