Tinder: Now With More Gonorrhea

Tinder is back in the news today with a recent report saying the app is directly related to a syphilis boom. First Rhode Island blamed the app and its pal, Grindr, for a 79 percent increase in syphilis in the overall population, and now the Brits are in on the action. According to the British Association for Sexual Health, syphilis has risen over 33 percent and gonorrhea increased over 16 percent in 2014. The association gives evidence that the use of social dating apps like Tinder and Grindr are directly linked to this boom. The odd note here is that the study is from a heterosexual population, but the Daily Mail listed Grindr, an application targeted at homosexual populations, as a co-culprit. I’m not sure if journalist Madlen Davies knows the difference between the apps or if Davies just yanked random stock footage, but there is a distinct user base that must be kept in mind.

Tinder Credit: On Flickr from Global Panorama under Creative Commons Share Alike license.
Credit: On Flickr from Global Panorama under Creative Commons Share Alike license.

The connection between unsafe sex and apps like Grindr and Tinder is solid.

Understanding the study’s population is crucial, because the numbers are deceptively low. Yes, I said it. A 33 percent increase in syphilis is low. If the population studied is just the individuals who identify as heterosexual, then that leaves out a significant segment of the population who is either bi or homosexual. When Los Angeles released their study results in June of 2014, they found that the numbers for the LGBT community with gonorrhea increased by 25 percent among partners who use an app to hook up and chlamydia shot up to a 37 percent increase.

What is more damning is that, according to a 2004 study, couples who met online using an app, instead of socially, had a 68 percent increase of unprotected anal sex. This means it was far safer to randomly walk into a bar or even a gay bathhouse and have sex.

How rampant is unprotected sex with Tinder? Let’s just say they have their own confession Twitter account.

Featured image by Global Panorama via Flickr, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

Jo Szewczyk is an American scholar who earned his PhD from Lancaster University in the UK. He is currently an ex-pat American living in Montreal, Canada where he spends his time with his cat, Chuck Finley.