Gay men who use dating apps apps at increased risk for STDS

Published: June 16, 2014

Smartphone dating apps used by gay men to find a sexual partner may make them more susceptible to getting a sexually transmitted infection compared with men who meet online or at a nightclub, bar, or other venue, a new study found.

Researchers at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center tested more than 7,000 gay and bisexual men for sexually transmitted diseases between 2011 and 2013 and asked them about their drug use and the ways they find sexual partners. Thirty-four percent said they only networked in person, 30 percent said they met men in-person and online, and 36 percent said they used dating apps.

Men who used apps to meet men were 25 percent more likely to have gonorrhea and 37 percent more likely to have chlamydia than those who met men only in person. App users also had higher rates of these diseases than men using online sites. There was no difference in the rate of HIV and syphilis among men, regardless of the way they met partners.

The findings suggest that app users may be more likely to have unprotected sex or have sex with multiple partners, the authors wrote.

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