"Thanks to Grindr or Tinder, you can acquire chlamydia in five minutes"
When Grindr hit the online dating scene, it seemed too good to be true. An app that you have right in the palm of your hand that can pinpoint just how close your next potential hookup is? Um, yes please! So the gay community went nuts for it, while straight singles sat around, twiddling their thumbs, wondering when it would be their turn to get their hands on such technology. They didn't have to wait too longer, because Tinder soon followed, and then everyone was happy.
But the problem with these apps is that maybe they're a little too convenient. I've known people who have discovered people on these apps who were actually in the same apartment building and yet had never met before until a sweep to the right on Tinder put them in touch … in more ways than one. While that's all well and good in a society that thrives on instant gratification, where it's not so great is that, according to some doctors, these apps are to blame for a rise in STIs.
"Thanks to Grindr or Tinder, you can acquire chlamydia in five minutes," says Peter Greenhouse, of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, and based on stats he's not exactly exaggerating.
In England, both gonorrhea and syphilis cases have increased. From 2012 to 2013, cases of gonorrhea have gone up by 15 percent and cases of syphilis have gone up by 9 percent. Considering we live in a time where we should all not only know about the importance of safe sex, but have easy access to it, these numbers are pretty depressing.
In fact, according to Public Health England, the apps were the direct cause of six outbreaks of syphilis. Keep in mind, that's not six cases of syphilis, but six outbreaks, meaning each outbreak affected a lot more than must one person. The apps, as Dr. Ian Simms of the Public Health England points out, were enabling "hyper-efficient transmission" of the infections. In other words, it was spreading like wildfire.
Having an active sex life is awesome, but not using protection during all this activity is just stupid. If you're smart enough to know how to download an app, use it effectively enough to find some action, then you're certainly smart enough to know where to get some condoms and how to use them. Seriously. If you can't be responsible enough to have safe sex every single time then maybe someone needs to take away your phone. That's right. We'll just take that phone right away from you. Then how will you feel?
But in all seriousness, gonorrhea and syphilis are not STIs to treat lightly. Both gonorrhea and chlamydia can lead to infertility, and syphilis, can result in blindness, madness, and even death. You know who had syphilis? Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Idi Amin just to name a few—not exactly the most stellar example of humanity. So, do yourself and every person you sleep with a favor, and use a condom. Every. Single. Time.