Your online dating app is linked to rising STI cases

By on
Sexually Transmitted Disease
A nurse takes blood from a man who got a free HIV test on a bus in Tehran December 16, 2015. Reuters/Raheb Homavandi/TIMA

The rates of sexually transmissible infections in Australia and other developed counties have been on the rise, and the numbers have become alarming. This is according to health data from the Kirby Institute that shows up to 18,588 cases of gonorrhoea were recorded in 2015, an increase from 8,388 cases in 2006. Irresponsible online dating is to be blamed for the rising STI rates.

That means the number of gonorrhoea cases has grown more than double in only one decade. The case is similar to other cases of infections such as syphilis, which has more than tripled in the past decade. Chlamydia cases rose by 43 percent.

Online dating and STI

A study has found that men who found partners online were six times more likely to have five or more sexual partners than those who don’t go searching for love on the internet. Females who dated online were seven times more likely to have multiple partners.

According to a British study, 35 percent of sexually active men and 21 percent of sexually active women have five or more sexual partners in a year. The number of sexual partner per person correlated with the likelihood of catching an STI. More people using websites and apps designed to facilitate romance means more partners per person, which in turn could mean the spread of infection.

Protection from STI

Moreover, a new study that involved heterosexual men in Australia shows that just 35 percent used a condom - viewed as an important part in preventing the transmission of STIs - during their last sexual encounter. A separate study has found that even younger people who use this form of contraceptive do so incorrectly. Some have experienced breakage or slippage during an encounter.

These issues raise concern about the effectiveness of condoms to protect young people against STIs. Experts recognise that inefficient use of condoms contributes in the rise of STI rates, but it does not paint the whole picture.

Another factor perceived as a cause for the increasing rate of STIs is the unprecedented number of visitors to Australia each year. Last year saw the highest number of short-term visitors, with over 640,000 backpackers.

Travellers tend to engage in practices that put them at risk of STIs. These include having multiple sexual partners without protection while using drugs and alcohol. When this happens, the act of travelling can trasnfer the infection from one country to another.

ABC Action News/YouTube

Join the Discussion