Hawaii has experienced an increase in confirmed sexually transmitted disease cases, which are believed to be linked to online dating, according to a report.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, citing figures from the Centers for Disease Control, reported Sunday that STDs in Hawaii reached the highest number since 1991. The report specifically focused on cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. According to the Department of Health’s Harm Reduction Services Branch, all three have reached their highest reported levels in nearly 30 years.
State health officials stated chlamydia cases had increased from 5,972 cases in 2008 to 7,732 cases in 2018. Gonorrhea increased from 611 to 1,496 cases over the last decade, while syphilis increased from 38 in 2009 to 180 in 2019.
“The fact that they’re all increasing is not desirable but it’s also not unexpected,” Gerald Hasty, a program director for State Harm Reduction Branch, told the Star-Advertiser.
Hasty credited this rapid increase in STD cases to ease of access from online dating.
“As people rely on digital means of making connections, it can lead to circumstances where they might be more exposed to infection without them knowing it,” he said. “More partners, more chances to get infections.”
Hasty also pointed out that there are more people not using condoms and that sexually active people are not seeking regular testing.