Sexually transmitted disease rates have spiked in Rhode Island, and social media, particularly hookup apps, are partly to blame with this new outbreak, state's health department pointed out.
Between 2013 and 2014, syphilis cases in the state increased drastically by 79 percent, and cases of gonorrhea rose by 90 percent. The number of newly-identified HIV cases increased by nearly 33 percent, according to Time.
Rhode Island Department of Health said that "new cases of HIV/AIDS and infectious syphilis continued to increase among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men at a faster rate than in other populations."
The recent uptick in STDs has been also attributed by the health department to hookup apps, like Tinder, that "arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters." Risk behaviors also include engaging to sex without condom, having multiple sex partners, and doing sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
"These new data underscore the importance of encouraging young people to begin talking to a doctor, nurse, or health educator about sexual health before becoming sexually active and especially after becoming sexually active," Rosemary Reilly-Chammat, HIV/AIDS sexuality specialist said in a statement.
CNN noted, when citing Christchurch Sexual Health Clinic, that some hookup apps were responsible for the increasing STD cases. Some of them were Craigslist, which was pointed to be culprit for the 16-percent increase in HIV cases in 33 states during the time period of 1999 and 2008; and Grinder, which was reportedly responsible for half of syphilis cases in New Zealand in 2012.
The agency also reported that infection rates in Rhode Island continued to impact African-American, Hispanic and young adult populations.
Prior to this report, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had already estimated that nearly 20 million new STD cases occur every year in the United States alone, which half of those inflicted are 15 to 24 years old.