Popular dating websites blamed for increase in STDs
Whether looking for a serious relationship, casual fling, or just testing the waters, there are websites available to find a partner. However, according to a new study from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, these sites are linked to a rise in sexually transmitted diseases.
The introduction of Craigslist in Florida, which allows users to post classified advertisements for casual hookups, led to a 13.5 percent increase of HIV-infection cases within a four-year period, according to the study. The dangers applied to all races, genders and sexual preferences.
“Sex can always come with a certain level of risk,” says Dr. Pranjal Shah, internal medicine physician at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill. “Many sites and apps provide people with a chance to ‘hookup’ with others, and people are at risk because they don’t know much about the person they are sleeping with.”
The study also found that it is possible that homosexual men are more likely to practice safe sex than infected heterosexuals. The study’s authors suggested that it may be a result of targeted public service announcements to homosexuals as opposed to heterosexual males.
“Regardless of sexual preference, you should practice safe sex,” says Dr. Shah. “If you use a site for this type of purpose, it is even more important that you take protection for yourself and your partner.”
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