Dating is not easy and there are a heap of apps out there to to help us all find someone, whether it’s “the one” or a partner to get your casual consensual bone on with.
But while dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Grindr have helped many Aussies find companionship over the last few years, scientists have found a worrying rise in STIs that coincides with the increasing number of people doing the naked tango after swiping right.
According to national health data from the Kirby Institute (via ABC News), 2017 saw a mind-boggling 100,755 cases of chlamydia in Australia, which represents an increase of 13% since 2014. Worryingly for a good portion of Aussies, three-quarters of those cases were aged between 15 to 29 years of age. It’s not just chlamydia either as the data revealed over 28,000 gonorrhoea and over 4,000 syphilis cases in that same year.
While STIs have been on the rise over the last few years in Australia, Queensland has copped it particularly hard as stats show a rise in chlamydia figures from 21,000 in 2014 to 23,000 in 2018, as well as an increase of 2,000 gonorrehoea cases and triple the number of syphilis cases over the same period.
Sure we had an eye-watering amount of young people getting freaky at Splendour In The Grass and passing chlamydia around like a joint at a 70s party, but the causes of this increase in STIs are a bit more complex than debauchery at Australia’s rapidly-shrinking list of music festivals.
This rising number of STIs in Australia isn’t because people are having banging more, but because folks are having sex with different networks of people they meet through Tinder, Bumble, and other dating apps.
Researchers say apps like Tinder give people increased access to potential partners in their area with just one swipe, resulting in more casual hook-ups with those not normally in someone’s regular social circle and thus not really learning about each other’s sexual history until, well, they get chlamydia.
However, the rise in STIs Down Under can’t be all pinned on folks swiping right too often as Australia’s poor sexual health education in schools is also a major factor. When a Netflix show called Sex Education provides more info on how to properly put on a condom than what they teach at schools, then Australia has a serious problem with how it educates young people about sexual health.
And no, abstinence-only education doesn’t work or count as sex ed because it’s about as effective trying take down a rabid tiger with a fly swatter.
So if you’re a frequent user of dating apps, please do yourself and every potential partner a favour by being sexually responsible. Getting to know each other’s sexual history, going for regular check-ups, and wearing a condom is much easier than dealing with a fiery bout of chlamydia that you caught at Splendour In The Grass.