Study Finds Men Who Use Gay Hook-up Apps Face Higher Risks of Sexually Transmitted Infections

New research published in the medical journal Sexually Transmitted Infections suggests smartphone apps like Grindr and Scruff used to find a sexual partner carry higher risks of getting common sexually transmitted infections than meeting online or in bars and clubs.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 11.11.29 AMMedical Xpress reports:

The researchers suggest that smartphone apps make it easier to meet potential partners more quickly than online or more traditional methods, thereby boosting the chances of anonymous riskier encounters, and therefore of picking up a sexually transmitted infection.

They point out that their findings may not be applicable to gay men in other areas or to those not attending a dedicated sexual health clinic.

But they write: "Technological advances which improve the efficiency of meeting anonymous sexual partners may have the unintended effect of creating networks of individuals where users may be more likely to have sexually transmissible infections than other, relatively less efficient social networking methods."

And they add: "Technology is redefining sex on demand," they say. "Prevention programs must learn how to effectively exploit the same technology, and keep pace with changing contemporary risk factors for [sexually transmitted infections] and HIV transmission."

The research found men who used smartphone apps to hook up with other men were 23% more likely to be infected with gonorrhoea and 35% more likely to be infected with chlamydia compared to men who met partners through in-person methods. There was no significant differences in rate of syphilis and HIV infection, regardless of method of contact.  

More on the study HERE

Comments

  1. Rick says

    Another badly designed study that confuses correlation with causality. Is it the apps that cause riskier behavior or are the guys that use such apps more prone to riskier behavior? Can’t be answered with this study. Move on.

  2. says

    Rick: “Another badly designed study that confuses correlation with causality. Is it the apps that cause riskier behavior or are the guys that use such apps more prone to riskier behavior? Can’t be answered with this study. Move on.”

    In this case, does it matter? Whether the app causes the behavior or the behavior is behind the apps success — the result is the same and so one can say, “Men who use this are likelier to encounter an STD”?

  3. Ted says

    “Study Finds Men Who Use Gay Hook-up Apps Face Higher Risks of Sexually Transmitted Infections” It took a study to find that out? Seems like that would just be common sense. At the end of the day, if you share your “stuff” without asking for the use of protection….that’s on you.

  4. verbocity eric says

    as compared to what? picking up guys in bars?
    answering roommate needed ads?
    tricking public washrooms?
    cruising the park?
    going to the baths?

    and what are there apps that are less likely to hook you up with STDs?

  5. I wont grow up says

    Let me get this straight (pun intended), guys who hook up randomly have a higher risk of getting the clap and god only knows what else. Puhleeze tell me we taxpayers didn’t pay for this.

  6. Bill says

    Er, guys, the point of the study is to measure the increased risk. That more hookups per unit time would result in a higher incidence of STDs is a no-brainer. Having quantitative results, however, is useful for public health agencies trying to figure out the best use of funds for prevention programs.

  7. steve says

    as someone who uses Grindr to hookup – yes, I’m aware. and it scares me. and I’m safe. however, I’ve been in long-term monogamous relationship with a guy that started out as a hook-up.

  8. Zlick says

    Just to play devil’s advocate, I don’t think everyone would assume a risk difference in hook-up via app vs. hook-up via bar pick-up or hook-up via internet date. All those are sex rendez-vous that may not have a lot of pre-acquaintance. So whether it’s the buggier guys who use the apps or the slightly more compacted “screening” process common to app hook-up, it’s interesting to know there’s a measurable difference in the risk of catching certain STDs. (And perhaps more interesting to know there’s no change in risk for other STDs or HIV.)

  9. Jim says

    Gosh. That’s a surprise. Guys who sleep with lots of guys have a higher risk of STDs than guys who don’t sleep with lots of guys. Damn. Who would have thunk it? Give these researchers the next Nobel Prize in medicine for discovering the obvious.

  10. Jim says

    Gosh. That’s a surprise. Guys who sleep with lots of guys have a higher risk of STDs than guys who don’t sleep with lots of guys. Damn. Who would have thunk it? Give these researchers the next Nobel Prize in medicine for discovering the obvious.

  11. Bill says

    @Zlick : what’s different about Grindr and similar hook-up apps is the use of GPS to find someone nearby. That translates into more hookups per unit time. If you have more hookups per unit time, more people get infected in the window between being infectious and having the infection detected, so you end up picking hookups from a group with a risk elevated by that.

  12. Pandion says

    It all depends on what you use the app for. I don’t like bars, so I use grindr to meet new people, not for sexual encounters. There’s nothing in the user agreement that says grindr MUST be used as a hookup app.

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