Rhode Island public health officials noted that during the '80s and '90s public health programs like needle exchanges and testing pregnant mothers for HIV had greatly reduced the number of STI infections.
Now, according to the Rhode Island Department of Health, we’re seeing an increase in infection rates because of high-risk behaviors like using social media for anonymous, casual sex; sex with multiple partners; having sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol; and forgoing the use of condoms.
"These new data underscore the importance of encouraging young people to begin talking to a doctor, nurse, or health educator about sexual health before becoming sexually active and especially after becoming sexually active," said Rosemary Reilly-Chammat, HIV/AIDS sexuality specialist. "It's never too early to learn about making HIV and STD testing part of routine healthcare. Doctors and nurses are trained to discuss sensitive topics like sex, and conversations with them are confidential. Health educators at schools or community health centers are great resources too."
According to the Huffington Post this not the first time hooking up over the internet has been linked to increased STI rates. In 2013 a New York University study linked a 16 percent increase in HIV infections between 1999 and 2008 to Craigslist hookups.
But the increase in STIs is not just happening in Rhode Island, and, according to our recent report, experts can't agree on why it's happening. So Grindr and Tinder might be off the hook.