Health experts see online dating as the new frontier for STD prevention, but major sites don't want to get involved. Even as the rates of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia have risen to record levels in recent years, major dating apps and sites like Tinder have avoided taking action or even talking about the problem. Grindr, Adam4Adam, Daddyhunt and other companies have partnered with local health departments and advocacy groups to send specific alerts about STI outbreaks, set up regular reminders about testing, and direct users to a site where they can safely and anonymously send a message to their former sexual partners informing them that they may have contracted an infection. According to The Guardian, within a year it was able to attract more than 100 new patients for STI testing or counseling, after failing to fully attract anyone through the more traditional means of outreach in nightclubs.
However, these partnerships so far lack the federal funding and broad industry support needed to turn the tide of the STD epidemic. In California, Klausner said, the state health department hears more and more that people with STDs met their partners on sites like Grindr. Grindr, Adam4Adam, Daddyhunt and other companies have partnered with local health departments and advocacy groups to send specific alerts about STI outbreaks. As health experts learn more about the links between the high-risk behaviors allowed by dating apps and outbreaks of STDs, they discover that apps make it difficult to track cases.
He and others would like online networks to be dedicated to collecting data on STDs, notifying couples, promoting condoms, and distributing information on self-tests and STDs. According to health experts, apps make it easier to find a partner, so it's not surprising to see an increase in STDs with an increase in the number of partners, although there is little data to show that using apps equals more STDs. Local nurses reported that more and more patients were coming to STD clinics, and some specifically cited the Grindr ad as their motivation to get tested or get care. Health officials in states across the country have linked recent outbreaks of STDs to the increase in Internet dating.
And while some of the new cases could be attributed to better testing, authorities said for the first time that rates of STDs were increasing due to certain high-risk behaviors, such as the use of online dating sites “to arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters”. Health advocates say it's time to recognize that impact and start helping combat STDs that could be helping to transmit. However, recently, a handful of popular apps whose users are mainly gay, bisexual and transgender people (the populations most at risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases) have started encouraging users to disclose their status, get tested and receive treatment, and to notify their previous partners if they may have contracted a disease. In the past, when a person was diagnosed with a serious STI, a public health official would call or meet with their sexual partners to discuss how to get tested and about possible treatment.
Positive Singles calls itself the “largest confidential herpes and STI dating network,” and Wohlfeiler is working with the University of Washington to develop “partner notification services,” which apps could integrate to allow users to alert their partners when they have been diagnosed with an STD. Meeting someone on Tinder doesn't automatically increase your risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases; however, having casual sex with someone you barely know, whether you meet them through an app, website, or in person, can definitely increase your risk of becoming infected with a sexually transmitted disease. .