"What's mine is yours, for a fee," is the mantra of the new normal "sharing economy," as various segments of our heretofore under-utilized assets are variously 'rented' out for the enjoyment of others. However, as a report by the Rhode Island Department of Health suggests, perhaps we are sharing just a little too much. Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in the US, with health officials pointing the finger at casual sex arranged through social media as "the perfect storm." With gonorrhea up 30%, HIV infections up by 33%, and syphilis soaring a shocking 79% in the last year alone, perhaps they have a point.
The report notes that "new cases of HIV and syphilis continued to increase among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men at a faster rate than in other populations," adding that "infection rates of all STDs continued to have a greater impact on the African-American, Hispanic, and young adult populations." As RT reports,
While better testing partly explains the increase, health officials also highlighted “high-risk behaviors that have become more common in recent years,” such as “using social media to arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters.”
Other risky behavior factors were: “Having sex without a condom, having multiple sex partners, and sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”
Rhode Island officials say their alarming STD rates are part of a trend throughout the US. Although the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are from 2013, there have been reports of spikes in HIV and syphilis from New York and Texas to Utah.
An STD clinic in Salt Lake County, Utah, has started asking patients about specific contact apps. Lynn Beltran, an epidemiologist at the clinic, told ABC she was not surprised to see a rise in STDs.
“It’s been the perfect storm,” said Beltran. “Our attitude kind of shifted, where it became more acceptable to engage in casual sex.”
Beltran said she had seen an uptick in syphilis and gonorrhea rates, and that many of the newly diagnosed patients said they were sexually active through dating apps.
Finally, and rather interestingly, RT adds,
Between 2003 and 2009, when prostitution wasn’t illegal in Rhode Island due to a clerical error, the state registered a 39-percent decrease in gonorrhea infections among women. A 2014 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research also found a 31-percent decrease in the number of rapes reported to the police.
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So too much of a good thing is bad for you...which reminds us...
What's dangerous and eats nuts?