Monday 24 October 2016

Dating apps are responsible for the rise in STIs and ‘potential HIV explosion’ claims expert

Published 02/11/2015 | 14:39

Dublin grandmother Siobhan revealed that she has lost confidence in dating
Dublin grandmother Siobhan revealed that she has lost confidence in dating

A leading sexual health consultant has warned that popular dating apps are fuelling the rise in sexually transmitted infections.

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Dr Peter Greenhouse, an expert from the British Association for Sexual Health believes smartphone apps facilitate casual sex and in turn are fuelling the rise in STIs.

The expert revealed that dating apps also have the potential to cause a “HIV explosion”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat, Dr Greenhouse said: "You could even be in a bar, swipe this way or that way and find that there's somebody on the other side of the bar who is up for it.

"So that must increase the rate of which you change partners or find new partners and that in itself has got to increase the risk of sexually transmitted infections."

Although the number of heterosexual people diagnosed with HIV in the UK has halved throughout the last decade, Dr Greenhouse revealed that modern day attitudes to casual sex could be responsible for a rise in the number of people contracting the infection.

"The thing that worries me is that we are just at a potential tipping point for HIV," he added.

"Because if enough people change partners quickly, and they have untreated sexually transmitted infections, it might just start an explosion of HIV in the heterosexual population. Apps could do that."

Thousands of people in Ireland and the UK use dating apps Tinder and Happn as a way of meeting potential matches.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Marie Cosnard, head of trends at Happn disputed Dr Greenhouse’s theory.

"Dating apps are following wider social trends and changing behaviours that have been unfolding for decades," she said.

"There's a liberalisation of attitudes towards the number of partners, the status of relationships, towards marriage, divorce, etc.

"So the rise of any STI is not really connected to dating apps themselves. The problem is much wider.

"People need to be more educated in terms of sexual health and to take their responsibilities, no matter how and where they've met their partner."

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