The Increase in STDs and Dating Apps: the possible link

The Increase in STDs and Dating Apps: the possible link

As a single girl living in Los Angeles it seems as if my girlfriends are telling me about a new dating app monthly. Dating apps have completely changed the online dating game that was once dominated by website based companies such as, Match.com and EHarmony. Each app has its own gimmick modified a bit from the OG of them all, Tinder. On Bumble the girl reaches out first, on Happn it is people that have crossed your path (a little creepy in a way), on Raya it is geared for people in “creative industries” (the SoHo House of dating apps), and on The League you have to meet certain requirements to become a member so it markets exclusivity, but what they all offer is efficiency.

Long gone are the days where someone had to search for a person that caught their eye, muster up the courage to approach them, think of something charming to say and have the vulnerability to face rejection when asking for someone’s contact information only to then wait three days to call them hoping that they were home so you didn’t have to leave an awkward message on their answering machine.

Now you can browse a hundred people a day if you desire on your phone, objectively swipe left or right and have immediate access to them. If they aren’t interested, no big deal, keep scrolling. People are becoming so desensitized to the whole process that they are also becoming desensitized to the ensuing interaction.

The apps have led to an increase in the availability and acceptance of meet-up-no-strings-attached sex. You can sit at a bar with your friends, have a few drinks while scrolling, match with someone validating that you both find each other attractive, and then meet that complete stranger for a late night rendezvous.

Our culture is becoming one in which dating and courting are becoming obsolete only to be replaced with quick text messages and “you wanna hang out?”

In 2015 the CDC published a statement that three nationally notifiable sexually transmitted diseases, STDs – chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis – have increased for the first time since 2006, according to data published in their STD Surveillance Report.

Those that are disproportionately affected are young people between the ages of 15 and 24. They accounted for the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea and almost two thirds of all reported cases. Also, previous estimates suggest that young people in this age group acquire half of the estimated 20 million new STDs diagnosed each year.

The scary thing that most people do not realize is that chlamydia and gonorrhea often have no symptoms; therefore, many infections go undiagnosed.   If left untreated this can lead to lifelong repercussions for a woman’s reproductive health, including pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.

In a world with a surplus of information and education about STD’s as well as availability to prophylaxis, one must question if there is a correlation between the ease of our technology-fueled casual sex culture and the increase of these STD’s amongst are youth?

Are there more risks than people are willing to acknowledge about all of this hooking up?

I support sexual liberation, but sexual liberation also means having the choice to do what you want with your body. Therefore, I beg that women make choices that respect their bodies, protect their health, and honor their mental well- being.

Maybe I am old school, but the decision to engage in sexual intimacy with someone should take more thought and effort than a thumb swipe. Simply because, as a gynecologist, I have seen the consequences that can be far greater than one may imagine at that moment.

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