Online dating fosters a culture of casual sex that could be linked to a dramatic rise in STDs—but popular apps like Tinder and Grindr resist acknowledging any complicity.
The apps may hesitate to acknowledge sexual health and safety concerns out of a fear they’d be “stigmatized for being associated with STDs,” UCLA STD researcher Jeffrey Klausner said.
Some studies link dating apps to rising cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis—the CDC recorded a record 2 million cases in 2016. It’s also possible that app-users just have more sexual partners. App anonymity also makes outbreaks hard to track—but that’s where the apps, holding user data for tens of millions, could help. No regulations currently require them to do so.