A US state has blamed what it calls an “epidemic” of sexually transmitted diseases on hook-up apps such as Tinder and Grindr.
The department of health for Rhode Island said it had experienced a marked rise from 2013 to 2014 in a number of STDs, including a 79 per cent increase in syphilis cases.
State officials said they wanted to issue an “alert to Rhode Islanders” about the issue of sexual health. Gonorrhea cases, it said, were up 30 per cent, while the number of newly-identified HIV cases increased by nearly a third.
Read more: Hilary Duff joins Tinder - plus nine other famous people you could potentially swipe right on
And while the state said better testing had contributed to the rising figures, the blame was also put on “high-risk behaviours… including using social media to arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters”.
Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of Rhode Island’s health department, said the increasing rates of STDs “send a clear signal that despite the progress we have made over the years… there is more work to do”.
She said: “We are fortunate in Rhode Island to have great partnerships among state agencies, community-based organizations, and healthcare providers to continue to educate, test, and treat for sexually transmitted diseases. This trend reminds us that we cannot become complacent.”
10 Famous People You Could Date On Tinder
10 Famous People You Could Date On Tinder
1/10 Hilary Duff
A year after splitting from her husband Mike Comrie, the newly single Lizzie McGuire child star has started a profile on Tinder so she can date normal folks, like you or I.
2/10 Leonardo DiCaprio
OK, so the days of Titanic poster boy Leo might be dead in the water, but that hasn't stopped famous lady's man Mr DiCaprio from making himself publicly available. According to "a source" he's been swiping away as a "Leonard".
3/10 Katy Perry
"I’m really deep on Tinder so I don’t have a whole lot of time," the pop singer told one radio station following her split from John Mayer for the umpteenth time last year.
4/10 Shane Warne
Lock up your mothers - Shane Warne is just 13km away, according to his profile. The former cricketer landed himself in hot water via the dating app when a mother-of-two from Adelaide cashed in on their apparently steamy Tinder hookup.
5/10 Lindsay Lohan
Imagine Lindsay Lohan's face when she was happily swiping through Tinder one day and came across her own brother? “Look who I just found on @tinderapp ... hey bro,” she tweeted.
6/10 Chris Pine
Whether he's actually on there RIGHT NOW, at this VERY MOMENT, remains unclear. But Chris Pine did tell Cosmopolitan recently: “I have a couple of buddies who use Tinder. Whatever eases the process is great, since it can be awkward or uncomfortable meeting someone.”
7/10 Lily Allen
Is very much married to a builder. But that hasn't stopped her enjoying the contagious swipe action in her spare time. “Just discovered tinder,” the singer wrote on Twitter. “*waves goodbye to life*”
8/10 Ed Sheeran
What do you mean you wouldn't want to date pop music's favourite Fraggle, Ed Sheeran? Well you can't. "I got offered the first verified Tinder account," he admitted. However, he added: "I did say no. I haven't got time to go on loads of dates." He wants to play music, or something. No idea.
9/10 Britney Spears
Jimmy Fallon added the singer to the app himself in September 2014 after she split up from David Lucado. Whether she used it or not...
10/10 Samuel Preston
OK, so we've swung down market somewhat. See also Calum Best and the entire cast of Made In Chelsea. They're all on there. Happy swiping.
Besides blaming dating apps used at least in part to arrange casual sex, health officials warned that “having sex without a condom, having multiple sex partners, and having sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol” were all contributing to the problem.
Rosemary Reilly-Chammat, an Aids and HIV expert, said: “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 centres are great resources too.”