Dating apps like Tinder and Happn are behind dramatic increases in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), according to the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV.
Dr. Peter Greenhouse, one of the UK’s leading sexual health doctors says, “You are able to turn over partners more quickly with a dating app and the quicker you change partners the more likely you are to get infections.”
According to Public Health England, in England cases of Syphilis increased by 33 percent and gonorrhoea by 19 percent in 2014, with Northern Ireland mirroring this pattern. Scotland saw cases of genital herpes and gonorrhoea spike, and Public Health Wales has also warned of a link between apps and STIs like syphilis.
Dr. Greenhouse says the dating sites have to take responsibility for promoting safe sex. He says, “Apps have to invest more time in pushing a safe sex message,” adding if apps did this it could help slow “soaring rates of infection”.
According to the Online Dating Association data, between 25 percent and 40 percent of new relationships these days start through apps, but mainly the ones where sex is not the main push.
Happn’s founder Didier Rappaport is adamant that dating apps like his are not behind increased promiscuity.
Greenhouse says that even though App technology “merely facilitates something that people wanted to do anyway, the fact that the tech exists means that it’s easier.”
He also says, “an educational campaign that starts in primary school” is needed.
“Its starts with self respect and self awareness education at age 5, 6, or 7 and you build in the sex and relationships gradually. That education happens in some European countries and unfortunately not in this country, it’s a failure of government policy.”
He says, “Places like Holland have an exemplary sexual health education campaign, but the campaigning starting in the 1970s so not only do the parental generation have education, but the grandparents have it.”
“You’ve got to start somewhere and one of the best ways to do this is with a decent sexual health education in schools. The important thing to do is to get government legislation to do that.”