There have always been those who’ve yelled and stomped their feet that technology is a bad thing. When the internet was invented there were those who said that it would never catch on. When dating apps were invented there were those who said that they would never be embraced by the masses.
Fact is, whether users are looking for a long term relationship or just a one night stand, dating apps such as Tinder and websites such as OkCupid have enjoyed an increasing amount of popularity in recent years. Nowadays most people look at an online meeting the sane way they would at a bar meeting or a concert meeting.
In fact, the Pew Research Center posted the results of a poll in 2013 and showed that 59 percent (59%) of American citizens consider the internet to be a perfectly respectable place to search for a partner.
But recently critics of these social platforms have started saying that they’re also pose a great health risk and are single handedly responsible for an increasing number of STDs among young adults and among members of the LGBT community.
The Rhode Island Department of Health shared a report earlier this week, revealing that the number of people diagnosed with syphilis in the state between the years on 2013 and 2014 has increased by 79 percent (79%). The department also pointed out that the number of newly diagnosed HIV patients increased by 33 percent (33%).
Gay and bisexual men in particulate were said to be at risk of contracting a disease, especially if they are African-American, Hispanic or young.
Rhode Island health officials admit that the rising numbers of diagnoses are due to easier and more frequent access to STD screening, but they also claim that the root of all that’s evil are the websites and apps who facilitate these meetings because of how easily they “arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters.”
Well, they might facilitate these encounters and all, but how exactly do the apps and website encourage or influence people to throw all caution out the window once they’ve met with their sexual partner? They’ll simply be acting the same way they would be acting if they had met in a bar.
Dr. Brian Mustanski, a professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, set out to prove this very point.
In a study posted in the journal AIDS Care, in 2007, he looked at how gay men use online dating when looking for a partner.
He found that while using online dating apps and websites lends itself to a higher number of sexual partners, when taking into account one-night stands, sex without condoms and a lack of knowledge about their partners’ sexual histories, the daily diaries of participants revealed that partners who had met online and didn’t know much about each other were far less likely to have unprotected sex than if they had met elsewhere.
Mustanski wisely rephrases the Rhode Island Department of Health’s concerns, saying that “men who engage in high-risk sex with other men use the Internet as a tool for meeting sexual partners, not that meeting partners online causes high-risk sex”.
Image Source: media.philly.com