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