Are dating apps increasing STIs?

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Leading doctors are warning that dating apps that facilitate casual sexual encounters are to blame for a rise in sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

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Experts also fear these dating apps could lead to a new explosion in HIV cases, with consultants from the British Association for Sexual Health calling for smartphone apps to invest more in promoting a safe sex message.

Popular apps

Millions of people subscribe to dating apps that match users based on their proximity to one another. According to health professional, this has led to young adults changing sexual partners more frequently, increasing the risk of transmitting STIs.

Apps such as Tinder and Grindr allow users to meet sexual partners by simply swiping left or right on their mobile phone.


A Public Health England report revealed that there were 435,000 STI cases diagnosed in England in 2015. The most commonly-diagnosed STI was chlamydia, with 200,288 cases.

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Chlamydia, which is passed from one person to another through sexual contact without the use of a condom, is particularly common in teenagers and young adults. In 2013, almost seven in ten people diagnosed with the infection were under the age of 25.

Symptoms of chlamydia can be hard to spot, but include:


– Swelling in the testicles.
– Pain when urinating.
– Unusual discharge from the penis.


– Pain in the stomach.
– Pain when urinating.
– Bleeding after sex or between periods.
– Unusual discharge from the vagina.

If you notice any symptoms, you should arrange an appointment with your GP or local sexual health clinic; alternatively, organisations such as provide a free home test for chlamydia.

Chlamydia is easily treated with a short course of antibiotics; however, if left untreated, it can cause serious complications, including infertility and arthritis.

Changing times

It is hard to put a figure on the exact number of people who meet sexual partners through dating apps; however, the Online Dating Association says that between 25 and 40 per cent of new relationships start in this way.

Dating apps are hitting back, however, with officials from one of the UK’s most popular apps saying the rise in STIs is not down to its platforms but to changing social trends and attitudes towards the acceptable number of sexual partners.

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