by David Goldman
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Rhode Island’s Department of Health says that sexually transmitted diseases are way up in the state, in part because of the increase of hookup apps like Tinder.
Between 2013 and 2014, cases of syphilis grew by 79 percent. HIV infections were up 33 percent and gonorrhea cases increased by 30 percent. STD cases for young adults are growing at a faster rate than the rest of the population.
Rhode Island says the recent uptick in STD cases follows a national trend. The state’s health department blamed “high-risk behaviors that have become more common in recent years,” including “using social media to arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters.”
A spokesman for Tinder did not respond to a request for comment.
Social media and online hookup apps have been blamed for a rise in STDs in the past.
A 2013 New York University study found that Craigslist was responsible for a 16 percent increase in HIV cases between 1999 and 2008 across 33 states. Grinder, a hookup app for gay men, was associated with more than half of all syphilis cases in New Zealand in 2012, according to Christchurch Sexual Health Clinic.
“These new data underscore the importance of encouraging young people to begin talking to a doctor, nurse, or health educator about sexual health,” said Rosemary Reilly-Chammat, an HIV/AIDS sexuality specialist for the Rhode Island Department of Education, in a press release.