Experts in Australia are blaming dating apps for the country’s recent rise in gonorrhea. A report published by New South Wales University’s Kirby Institute found that between 2012 and 2016, there was a 63 percent increase, with over 23,000 people being diagnosed with the STD.
Experts believe the increase is related to the heavy usage of dating apps such as Tinder, eHarmony, and Grindr.
Dr Wendell Rosevear, a campaigner for sexual health, told news.com.au that people often use dating apps to have “frequent, sometimes anonymous encounters”.
He explained how people used to meet in person in social places like nightclubs. “Clubs are dying because people are becoming more reliant on social media and app connection,” he said.
Associate professor David Whiley, from the UQ Centre for Clinical Research at the University of Queensland, told 9News earlier this year that sexual irresponsibility might be a result of people wanting to increase fun by taking sexual risks.
Rebecca Guy, study author from New South Wales University, told the BBC that gonorrhea wasn’t always so common in young heterosexual people, especially those living in large cities. “Rising rates in this group highlight the need for initiatives to raise awareness among clinicians and young people about the importance of testing,” she said.
The new study showed that HIV has seen a less significant increase than gonorrhea in recent years, with 1,000 new cases in 2016. Meanwhile, chlamydia is still the most diagnosed STI in Australia.
Gonorrhea, often referred to as “the clap”, causes unusual discharge from the penis and vagina. It can lead to pain when passing urine, and in women can sometimes be symptomless. The STD can pass between sexual partners easily during unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex. If left untreated, the bacteria can have serious effects on a woman’s cervix, causing issues like pelvic inflammatory disease, which causes severe abdominal and pelvic pain and can increase risk of infertility.
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