Will an STD Testing Locator Help Reduce STD Rates?

STDTinder, a popular dating app, recently announced that it has added a Health Safety section to its website that will include a link to Healthvana’s free HIV and STD testing site locator as Business Wire reported on Thursday. Healthvana is a cloud-based technology platform that improves communication between patients and their healthcare providers. Although an added layer of safety, the question many are pondering is, “Will an STD testing locator help reduce STD rates?”

Last September, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) put up billboards in Los Angeles linking dating apps Tinder and Grindr to higher rates of sexually transmitted disease. In response to the billboard campaign, Tinder fired back and demanded that AHF remove the billboards. After AHF refused, Tinder sent a “cease and desist” letter to AHF.

Now, the battle between the dating app and the sexual health advocacy group has apparently been resolved after Tinder added the Health Safety section and a link to an STD testing locator. So, will STD rates decrease after Tinder’s addition of an STD testing locator? Jenelle Marie Davis, a brand spokesperson for PositiveSingles.com, an STD, and HIV-focused dating site said:

All of us should applaud Tinder’s decision to add STD testing locators to its application because STD testing is important for everyone. STD testing certainly increases sexual health and the general safety of users if they are getting tested and talking about sexual health regularly, but that does not necessarily mean any dating app is the reason for a rise in STDs.

According to a survey conducted by PositiveSingles, 71.8 percent of its members do not believe popular dating apps, such as Tinder or Grindr, are to blame for the recent increase in the STD rates nationwide. Out of this number, 67 percent said they have never used hookup apps. In a statement, Dr. Jessica Carbino, Lead Sociologist at Tinder, said:

An important aspect of any healthy relationship – whether formed on Tinder or otherwise – is ensuring sexual health and safety. While the CDC, who conducted the largest and most credible study on the topic, has never identified any connection that supports the idea that Tinder usage correlates with, let alone causes, an increase in STDs, we’re of course in favor of organizations that provide public education resources on the topic.

STDActually, for years, internet dating sites have been blamed for an increase in STDs. For example, between 1999 and 2008, the hookup scene on Craigslist was blamed for a 16 percent increase in cases of HIV, according to a 2013 New York University study. Then, CNN reported in May of last year that the Rhode Island Department of Health issued a statement regarding an increase in sexually transmitted diseases within the state due, in part, to the proliferation of the Tinder and Grindr apps. According to Davis:

No data shows that technology should be blamed for the rise in STD rates. However, technology can definitely be utilized to help increase STD awareness. Many people contract STDs because they do not practice comprehensive safer sex consistently. And even when safer sex is practiced consistently, there is still a risk since some STDs have no symptoms, many go untreated, and that results in unaware individuals infecting others. That is why we view communication and getting tested regularly as important steps for anyone who is sexually active, not only for people using hookup apps. Now Tinder is setting a good example for other major social networks. As a result, we are hopeful that the addition of such resources will improve awareness around the fast-growing number of STD cases.

Tinder encourages members to know their health status. A statement on the website explains how critical awareness is in order to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. To the applause of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Tinder has now added a Health Safety section to its website making it easier for members to find STD testing locators. The question remains, “Will an STD testing locator help reduce STD rates?

By Cherese Jackson (Virginia)


Business Wire: AHF Applauds Tinder’s Decision to Add Health Safety Section Including Healthvana’s STD Testing Locator
PR Newswire: 71.8% of People Don’t Think Tinder Should Be Blamed For STD Rise
Healthvana: Find STD Testing

Photo Credits:

Top / Featured Image by Jaci Berkopec Courtesy of The Factionist – Flickr License
Inline Image Courtesy of Healthvana

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