A report from the Rhode Island Department Of Health found that the rates of sexually transmitted diseases were way up in the state, and they promptly blamed it on social media.
Specifically: Social media apps, like Tinder, “used to arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters.”
Cases of infectious syphilis increased by 79 percent between 2013 and 2014. Infections of HIV were up by 33 percent and gonorrhea cases by 30 percent, the report said.
New cases of AIDS and HIV continued to increase faster among gay and bisexual men than in any of the other populations, while infection rates of all STDs continued to impact blacks and Hispanics more than others.
“These data send a clear signal that despite the progress we have made in reducing STDs and HIV over the years, there is more work to do,” said Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the Rhode Island DOH said in a statement.
The report blamed the recent uptick in STD cases to “high-risk behaviors” engaged by young people who use social media apps like Tinder to engage in casual sex.
This isn’t the first time social media has been blamed for rising STD rates.
A 2013 study from New York University found that Craigslist caused a nearly 16 percent increase in HIV cases over a ten year period from 1999 to 2008, and across 33 different states.
In England, cases of gonorrhea rose by 15 percent between 2012 and 2013, and syphilis cases shot up 9 percent. Peter Greenhouse, a spokesman for the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, told the Daily Mail the rise is thanks to apps like Tinder and Grindr, a casual dating app for gay men.
“You can find, down to a metre or two, the nearest available person who is interested. This is something that just hasn’t been available before,” he told the Mail. “Thanks to Grindr or Tinder, you can acquire chlamydia in five minutes.”