Blaming A Deadly Disease On Grindr Is A Dangerous Thing To Do

Published: June 6, 2013

“Did Grindr cause New York’s deadly meningitis outbreak?” screamed Slate’s Twitter, and a familiar weight yolked itself around my neck.

“CLICK BAIT CLICK BAIT” sounded my internets-alarm, but it was too late. I hooked in, and discovered that we silly gay men are responsible for YET ANOTHER life-threatening infection being unleashed upon the world — all because we can’t keep it in our pants.

Of course all news sites need to cut through the web’s white noise, but is it responsible to point fingers when so many of us take our news in 140 characters or less? And, given Brooklyn is the new Bali, how long before NY-bound Australians join the moral panic?

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself:

Here’s what we know. A new strain of meningococcal in NYC has been building momentum since 2010, with 22 cases reported and 7 fatalities so far — all of whom happened to be gay men. Meningococcal is a form of severe bacterial meningitis with fast-acting symptoms, and if left untreated it can quickly result in lost limbs and potential loss of life. Not to be confused with the less severe viral meningitis, meningococcal is one of those terrifyingly quick infections that kills off Gwyneth Paltrow characters in disease-porn movies. It is spread via close bodily contact (sexytimes or similar), and also (but not as easily) from that age-old harbinger of death and disease: sharing a drink. It has been widely reported on by major media outlets like the New York Times, who are attributing its spread to anonymous sexual encounters between gay men, facilitated by “internet chat rooms or digital apps or at parties”.

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