The Scary Link Between STDs And Dating Apps, As Told By A Gyno
As a single girl living in Los Angeles, it seems as if my girlfriends are always telling me about a new dating app.
Dating apps have completely changed the online dating game that was once dominated by website-based companies such as Match.com and eHarmony.
Each app has its own gimmick modified a bit from the OG of them all, Tinder.
On Bumble, the girl reaches out first. On Happn, it connects you with people who have crossed your path (a little creepy in a way).
On Raya, it's geared for people in “creative industries” (the Soho House of dating apps).
And on The League, you have to meet certain requirements to become a member, so it markets exclusivity.
But what they all offer is efficiency.
Long gone are the days when someone had to search for a person who caught their eye, muster up the courage to approach them, think of something charming to say and embrace the vulnerability to face rejection when asking for someone's number.
Now, you can browse 100 people a day, swipe left or right and have immediate access to all of them.
If they aren't interested, no big deal, just keep scrolling.
The apps have led to an increase in the availability (and acceptance) of meeting up with people for no-strings-attached sex.
You can sit at a bar with your friends, have a few drinks while scrolling, match with someone and then meet that complete stranger for a late-night rendezvous.
Our culture is becoming one in which dating and courting are becoming obsolete, only to be replaced with quick text messages that only say “You wanna hang out?”
In 2015, the CDC published a statement that three nationally notifiable sexually transmitted diseases, STDs – chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis – have increased for the first time since 2006, according to data published in its STD Surveillance Report.
Those disproportionately affected by these STDs are young people between the ages of 15 and 24.
They accounted for the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea and almost two-thirds of all reported cases.
Also, previous estimates indicate these young people acquire half of the estimated 20 million new STDs diagnosed each year.
The scary thing that most people do not realize is, chlamydia and gonorrhea often have no symptoms. Therefore, many infections go undiagnosed.
If left untreated, this can lead to lifelong repercussions for women's reproductive health, including pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.
In a world with a surplus of information and education about STDs as well as availability to preventative care, one must question if there is a correlation between the ease of our technology-fueled, casual sex culture and the increase of these STDs among our youth.
Are there more risks than people are willing to acknowledge about all of this hooking up?
I support sexual liberation and the freedom to do what you want with your body.
But, I hope you make choices to respect your body, protect your health and honor your mental well-being.
Maybe I'm a little old-school, but the decision to engage in sexual intimacy with someone should take more thought and effort than a swipe of the thumb.
And as a gynecologist, I've seen the consequences, and they can be far greater than one may imagine at the time.
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