STD Numbers Are Still High: Is Online Dating to Blame?

STD numbers have been steadily increasing over the years. The Sub-Saharan African region was ranked as the highest infected area in the world with 15 million cases of chlamydia, 3.5 million syphilis, 30 million trichomonas, and 16 million gonorrheas. And has remained the number one most infected region for years. 

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Recently, however, the CDC stated online dating apps could be the reason for the constant increase in STDs around the globe, not just the African population. In fact, statistics have shown that since online dating became popular, gonorrhea rates have doubled and syphilis has increased by five times. For the last decade, even chlamydia went up by 56%. 

These records do seem worrying; but what does online dating have to do with the constant increase in STD rates? Here, we will do a detailed analysis of the effects of online dating, and why does it matter for the African population. But, most importantly, we will talk whether it is to blame for the rising STD rates. 

How Does Online Dating Result in STDs?

Based on statistical analysis, 79% of online daters agree that dating apps are a good way of meeting new people. Most of them find it beneficial that they don’t need to know a lot about their potential partner aside from getting intimate. While 33% of users agree this makes it difficult for them to settle down. But, it’s a more convenient method, than having to look for a partner any other way. 

While there isn’t enough research to effectively link online dating to STDs, it can be a potential concern for many. There are a couple of problems many people have pointed out with online dating, these include:

  • Unprotected sex
  • Lack of communication
  • Failure to promote healthy intercourse

People are getting intimate with someone they barely know. Since online dating makes changing partners a lot easier and more convenient, it has become easier to spread STDs than before. Most people have no idea their partner may carry infection, so they unknowingly get to spread it to a future partner. Therefore, increasing the rates for contracting STDs in Africa and worldwide. 

According to a Dutch study, many individuals seek unprotected sex through online dating, particularly for same-sex intercourse. Many of the participants evaluated in the study were unaware that anal intercourse could also spread STDs. While the reasons differ for every individual, many people did result in having unprotected sex and contracting STDs. 

Why STD Numbers Matter for Africa?

Statistics show, 51.7% of the population in South Africa between the ages of 25 to 34, use online dating apps to find a potential partner. While 13.8% are 18 to 24 years old. Even though hardly as many people in Africa use dating apps as in the U.S., it’s obvious that plenty of people are willing to skip the old-school dating method and go for easier alternatives. 

For Africa, this is a serious issue. Most STDs are a taboo, and getting intimate with a stranger could become a potential problem for STDs. In poorer regions, like this continent, talking about sexually transmitted infections has a higher chance to make dating a lot more difficult. People would rather not publicly disclose their sexual health situation or may not even know they are infected. Both of these problems are present in Africa, and much more likely to happen. 

Also, there is another issue. Recently, fewer people have been using contraceptives to stop spreading STDs, officials announced. Many of which fail to use condoms during intercourse with a spouse. 

Unprotected sex, whether it is oral, anal, or vaginal, can equally spread STDs. Individuals who don’t use these methods of protection, but regularly change partners, are more likely to get infected. 

What Should You Do?

If you prefer online dating, it’s important that you establish boundaries. Have a proper conversation with the potential partner and insist that you use contraceptives. To prevent the onset of any STD, it’s crucial to use condoms, including for same-sex intercourse. Otherwise, you risk exposing yourself to serious infections that could drastically impact your overall health, like HIV for example. 

Even though it’s hard to figure out if online dating is to blame for increased STD rates, it’s safe to say that people should take the right precautions. Not just for themselves, but for their future partners as well. 

References

https://www.statista.com/outlook/372/112/online-dating/south-africa#market-arpu

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12348788

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7576299/Hawaii-health-officials-blame-states-spike-STIs-online-dating.html

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/10/14/std-online-dating-higher-disease-numbers-linked/3973450002/

https://www.mdpi.com/2076-0760/6/3/78/htm

https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-016-1637-5

https://www.verywellhealth.com/are-internet-dating-sites-endangering-public-health-4118176

Dr. Ahmed Zayed holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers as viewed in his recent book .Other than his passion for writing, Dr. Ahmed spends his time outside the hospital, either reading or at the gym. Visit his website ZayedMD.com

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