Dating Apps Look to Erase STD Stigma

Dating Apps Look to Erase STD Stigma

Is it possible for hook-up apps to be both a cause and solution to the ever-increasing sexually transmitted infection rate in Australia?

The reality is that STD infections are rising. And, even though they’ve been around before Bumble and Tinder, it’s society’s own liberal approach to sex that has resulted in the higher infection rate. According to various studies, young people are not having sex as often but do have casual partners.

The more recent health information shows that the number of gonorrhea cases each year has doubled with the number of syphilis cases tripling. There is also a 43 percent rise in the number of chlamydia cases.

Due to the rise in STD cases, many dating apps designed for people with an STD such as Hope and Positive Sings” have been developed. The premise of these apps is modeled after the sites HIVNet and PozMatch (both developed in the 1990s and geared toward individuals living with HIV/AIDS. The apps are geared toward today’s technological preferences and for the most common STDs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV, herpes and syphilis.

How do the apps work?

The apps offer a dating atmosphere that lessens the stigma tied to STDs. They allow people to find a person based on their preferences and STD status, which will eliminate that awkward “I have this STD” moment when dating.

Although they are rather convenient, there is a price of using them. For example, there are the phishing attempts; some legit dating apps have been known to share users’ data with a third-party. Some people have said the apps don’t eliminate the stigma but lead to STD cliques.

One person said they felt an app was being used by people who wanted to put others down for their STD status.

It’s for these reasons that industry experts urge people to proceed with caution before using these STD-geared dating sites.

Written by Mark Riegel, MD

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