So long as you’re not horrendously ugly, finding someone to hookup with is easier than ever before thanks to apps like Grindr, Hinge, Tinder, and a wealth of other dating apps out there. However, this ease of hooking up isn’t without its downsides, as a new health report from the Rhode Island Department of Health claims that these apps are actually contributing to increased STD rates.
Sexually transmitted disease rates in Rhode Island rose sharply between 2013 and 2014, and the state’s department of health is pointing to hookup apps like Tinder as one of the driving forces behind new outbreaks. The rise has been precipitous: Syphilis cases in Rhode Island increased by 79 percent between 2013 and 2014 while gonorrhea cases increased by 30 percent. Newly identified HIV cases increased by almost 33 percent, according to a new state report. The rates didn’t affect all groups equally. Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 were more likely than any other group to be infected with chlamydia and gonorrhea. Men who have sex with other men made up 75 percent of primary and secondary syphilis cases, the two most infectious stages. While the Rhode Island Department of Health attributed some of the increase in STDs to better testing, the report also highlighted the role that high-risk sexual behaviors play in disease transmission: “High-risk behaviors include using social media to arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters, having sex without a condom, having multiple sex partners, and having sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”