Std and dating

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Grindr, Adam4Adam, Daddyhunt and other companies have forged partnerships with local health departments and advocacy groups to send out targeted alerts about STD outbreaks.

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Many dating apps continue to ghost health officials and advocacy groups who seek their help fighting the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases the platforms have helped bring about. Some of the sites, however, are starting to swipe right. Even as rates of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia have climbed to record levels over the past few years, major dating apps and sites like Tinder have avoided taking action or even speaking up about the problem.

Recently, however, a handful of popular apps whose users are primarily gay, bisexual and transgender — the populations most at risk for STDs — have begun encouraging users to disclose their status, get tested and treated, and notify past partners if they may have contracted a disease.

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Grindr, Adam4Adam, Daddyhunt and other companies have forged partnerships with local health departments and advocacy groups to send out targeted alerts about STD outbreaks, set up regular testing reminders, and direct users to a site where they can securely and anonymously send a message to former sexual partners informing them that they may have contracted an infection.

But these partnerships so far lack the federal funding and widespread industry support needed to turn the tide on the STD epidemic. Public health groups and state officials have criticized big dating apps for not being more proactive about promoting sexual health. Local health departments and advocacy groups have tried for years to cultivate relationships with the apps, said Dan Wohlfeiler, co-founder of Building Healthy Online Communities, which brings together academic researchers and health officials with dating apps that also include BarebackRT, BGCLive.

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Such conversations can be delicate, he said. In April of this year, Monongalia County, West Virginia saw its syphilis rate start to skyrocketwith rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea close behind. Unlike other parts of the state where the infection rate was primarily fueled by sharing needles for drug use, local health officials determined that men who have sex with men were the primary drivers. All the bells were going off and we knew it was time to do something. After hearing from a lot of patients that they had met partners on dating apps, Smith decided to reach out directly to the apps to help transmit information about the outbreak to the people most at risk of infection.

Since syphilis, while potentially fatal if left untreated, often has no detectable early symptoms, public health workers wanted to sound the alarm to help diagnose people while the infection could be cured with simple antibiotics. Public health heroes right here. It was far from the first request Grindr had received from a local health department. Starting inthe company has run free on its app alerting users in a specific state or geographic region about outbreaks of infections such as meningitis and hepatitis A.

So it had to be a cornerstone of what we were doing. Starting on April 24 at 5 a. After the first month, the ad ran monthly for paying Grindr members and bimonthly for free members. More than 70, people saw the ad over the next six months, and more than 3, clicked through to a resource — far more than Smith could have reached through other methods. The campaign had an impact.

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Local nurses reported that increased s of patients were showing up at STD clinics, with some specifically citing the Grindr ad as their motivation for seeking testing or care. The partnership with Grindr concluded at the end of November, but Smith said he plans to ask the state for funding to buy on other dating apps while exploring other online tools to fight the STD epidemic.

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This October, CDC reported that cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia reached an all-time high in Syphilis jumped 14 percent in just one year and distressingly, newborn deaths related to congenital syphilis increased 22 percent. Federal health officials say an array of factors are fueling the epidemic, including decreased condom use, social stigma around STDs, and funding cuts to clinics that provide outreach, testing and treatment.

Dating and hookup apps, used by tens of millions of people, have fueled the rising rates as well, officials say. But the apps have also proven to be a powerful tool to fight the spread of STDs.

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In another study, done in England, most participants said they wanted to receive sexual health information via dating apps. These features are aimed at helping users make safer and more informed behavioral choices — a challenge when anonymous hookups are common.

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Health advocates say they hope to convince companies that these features will attract rather than scare away potential members. How some — but not all — dating apps are taking on the STD epidemic.

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The Ultimate Guide to Dating With STDs