Mobile Dating Apps May Be Causing a Spike In Syphilis, and Ew

SHANGHAI, CHINA - DECEMBER 6: (CHINA OUT) A worker displays samples of CD4 HIV testing at a lab of Shanghai Xuhui District Central Hospital on December 6, 2006 in Shanghai, China. Shanghai's medical researchers have made breakthrough progress in the development of CD4 test reagent, which can largely lower the expense of CD4 tests. The technique is expected to be popularized in needy regions with poor mecical conditions. CD4 test is a blood test that measures the number of disease-fighting CD4 cells in the human's blood, an indicator of the overall health and how HIV is progressing, according to local media. (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)
Source: China Photos/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Mobile hook up apps are becoming increasingly popular, and there’s an option for just about everyone — Grindr, Adam4Adam, Tinder, Hinge, OKCupid...the list goes on. But some public health officials believe that these hook up apps are causing an uptick in syphilis diagnoses in New York. Yikes!

According to Gizmodo, syphilis cases in New York’s Onondaga County have doubled, and risen by 30 percent across the state. There are still less than 100 new cases in all of New York, but the increase is still troubling. Syphilis can be cured with antibiotics if detected early, but once the illness has progressed to it later stages, it can cause irreparable organ damage.  

Public health officials made the connection between Grindr and new syphilis diagnoses simply, by asking “newly infected people whether they use apps like Grindr to meet sexual partners.” They did not release the breakdown of which apps each person used, but it was easy for Gizmodo to deduce that Grindr might be the culprit. “Nearly all of the syphilis cases in New York involved men, and some 70 percent of those men say they have sex with other men. So if Grindr is the most popular app among men who like men, it seems natural to say that Grindr is contributing the rise in cases.”


The connection between STIs and hooking up is particularly troubling when you consider that many people who use Grindr, Tinder, and other hook up apps typically have multiple, sometimes anonymous sex partners. If they have contracted syphilis, they could be unknowingly spreading the illness very quickly.

This isn’t to suggest that people can’t (or shouldn’t) use hook-up apps, but they should use them cautiously. Safe sex should be a no brainer, and you should probably do a little more vetting of your sexual partners than a quick swipe across your iPhone screen before you decide to let them into your bed.


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