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Hookup apps blamed for STD spike

Published Oct 14th, 2019 10:51PM EDT
std outbreak
Image: Valentin Wolf / imageBROKER/Shutterstock

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A few days ago the CDC issued an alarming new bulletin revealing that STD rates are skyrocketing across the United States. Cases of gonorrhea and syphilis have reached levels not seen for decades, and chlamydia is currently at an all-time high. It’s bad news, and it’s understandable that health officials want to get to the bottom of these alarming numbers as soon as possible.

So, what could possibly be leading to many new STD cases? Each state is doing its best to tackle the startling rise in STDs, but Hawaii’s Department of Health is one of the first to come out and say what everyone is already thinking: hookup apps are to blame.

It’s no secret that apps like Tinder have made it easier and easier to forge long-term relationships as well as engage in short-term flings. This, combined with the increasingly anonymous nature of hookups among 20-somethings, is at the heart of the recent STD spikes, according to health officials.

“As people rely on digital means of making connections, it can lead to circumstances where they might be more exposed to infection without them knowing it,” Gerald Hasty of Hawaii’s DOH Harm Reduction Services Branch, explains. “More partners, more chances to get infections.”

Adding to the dramatic increase in STD cases is the fact that the diseases seeing huge increases don’t always produce immediate symptoms, leading some to believe they are perfectly healthy but are actually spreading infections around. This should be a big motivator for individuals with multiple sexual partners to get regular screenings for STDs, and use protection in all circumstances. Unfortunately, as the statistics indicate, that isn’t happening.

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