STI levels are rising rapidly across Australia, and health experts are pointing the blame at dating apps like Tinder and Grindr.
Chlamydia is currently the most widespread sexually transmitted infection, with 80,000 cases diagnosed a year in Australia – but gonorrhoea levels has doubled and even tripled in some regions.
‘For some people the fun is increased by taking sexual risks with people they meet on dating apps,’ Associate Professor David Whiley at the University of Queensland’s Centre for Clinical Research, told 9 News.
Single Australians may have developed a casual attitude towards the practice of safe sex due to the apps, and be less likely to wear condoms according to the Associate Professor.
‘People don’t seem too scared of HIV anymore and for that reason there is now a great proportion of the population that are prepared to not use condoms,’ he said.
Associate Professor Whiley added that the relaxed attitude towards safe sex was having an impact on the Aboriginal and Indigenous communities who are also experiencing rising rates of gonorrhoea.
‘If you have lots of people in a community prepared to take risks then all it takes is for a few people to spread that infection before it rips through that network.
‘We have seen the rates of gonorrhoea double or triple in the last ten years.’
Having sex without a condom, having multiple sexual partners and having sex while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can increase the risk of suffering an STI.
And while gonorrhoea is treatable thanks to an antibiotic known as ceftriaxone, Associate Professor Whiley says there are concerns that it could soon be ineffective against the infection.
Strains of gonorrhoea have emerging, in areas like Japan and Europe, showing resistance to ceftriaxone.