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There is a tendency, in cultural conversation and in the media, to attribute promiscuity to whatever technological innovation is empowering people who want to have sex. Dating apps are the latest sex-panic bogeyman, following in the footsteps of birth control and sex-ed in decades past. Although social media may indeed play a role in the spread of STDs, pointing the finger at apps that facilitate sex misses two larger points. First, that people who want to have sex are going to find a way to have sex; the drive to have sex is not the apps' "fault.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC reported in September that rates of syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea infections have increased for the third straight year. Fred Wyand, the director of communications for the American Sexual Health Association, agreed — but to a point. Bauer and others point to additional factors that could contribute, including a decrease in condom use, and an increased rate in screenings.

And, according to Julia Bennett, director of learning strategy at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a decrease in sexual education. Bauer's reports on California, there's been a 40 percent increase among syphilis cases in men who have sex with men who report meeting their partners on the internet; for heterosexual syphilis cases, that increase is 10 percent. However, a study published in PLoS One actually refutes the claim.

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It compared gay and bisexual men who use dating apps with those who do not. And while app-users were more likely to have STDs than those who didn't use apps, they were also having more sex overall — even absent the use of dating apps. As the study's author, Justin J. Lehmiller, writes in Tonic:. What this suggests is that those who use the apps would probably still be having more sex even if apps weren't around.

In other words, there's a selection effect at play here, which means that app users' higher rates of STDs don't seem to be a pure function of the technology they're using. While a lot of coverage of rising STD rates does mention multiple causes, many stories place a disproportionate emphasis on the dating app narrative — minimizing the complex cultural and political issues driving the burgeoning crisis, in favor of something flashy.

Equating STDs with individual promiscuity, rather than gaps in health infrastructure, downplays the need for systematic change. It catalyzes the perception of STDs as something that comes about when you're having more sex — a false assumption, as long as you have the right health resources. The curious but somewhat alarmist tone of stories that link STDs with dating apps sounds startlingly similar to past accusations about how sexual education, the pill, and, most recently, subsidized birth control, enable more and less safe sex.

Along with the claim that STD increases have potentially been caused by dating apps, all of these arguments turn heads because they play into the somewhat titillating hysteria of sex panic: I hope that public health is not sensationalizing the role of all of these different factors. In the past, moral panic has ensued when a technological or health innovation got involved in people's sex lives. As far back as , a study set about debunking the claim that birth control and sex education would lead women and teens to having more sex.

Despite what has become scientifically-backed conventional wisdom about how sex-ed does not increase rates of teen sex, and that birth control decreases teen or otherwise unwanted pregnancy, opponents of these health measures have persisted in their opposition over the last half of a century.


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In the last decade alone, Obamacare opponents argued against free birth control on the basis that they thought it would lead women to having more sex an idea that a study also debunked. The sensationalism driving the narrative around dating apps and STDs plays into the same underlying morality argument behind sex-ed and birth control opposers. Tertiary syphilis is very rare. It can cause severe health complications that affect multiple organ systems.

The symptoms of tertiary syphilis include:. Healthcare providers are likely to run blood tests or examine some of the fluid from a sore to check for syphilis.


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  8. A healthcare provider may recommend an antibiotic called benzathine benzylpenicillin to treat primary, secondary, and early latent syphilis. People who are allergic to penicillin will need to use a different antibiotic, such as doxycycline or azithromycin. Although antibiotics will prevent the infection from progressing, they cannot repair any permanent damage resulting from the infection. Human Papillomavirus HPV is a group of related viruses, comprising more than strains. Most men who contract HPV never develop symptoms, but some may notice symptoms several months or even years after the initial infection.

    The most common symptoms of HPV in men are warts in the mouth or throat and genital warts , which are small bumps around the penis or anus. These vaccines are effective against HPV types 16 and 18, which are high-risk strains because they are responsible for causing certain types of cancer.

    The CDC recommends that children aged 11 to 12 years old receive the HPV vaccine to protect them against complications of the infection. The CDC also recommends that older boys and men up to the age of 45 years get the HPV vaccine if they did not receive a vaccination when they were younger. However, a healthcare provider may be able to make a diagnosis based on any genital warts that are present. Most cases of HPV resolve without treatment and do not cause any health complications. However, if HPV does not go away and a person does not receive treatment, it can cause health problems, including certain types of cancer.

    No treatment has received approval for HPV, but a person can treat the symptoms and complications. For example, men can use topical and oral medications to treat genital warts. Human immunodeficiency virus HIV is a virus that attacks the body's immune cells. HIV spreads through contact with infected bodily fluids, such as semen, vaginal fluids, and blood. Having sexual intercourse without a condom is the most common method of transmission. Many people who have HIV will experience flu-like symptoms within 2—6 weeks of infection. Common signs and symptoms of HIV in men are:.

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    Signs and symptoms of STDs in men

    There is no cure for HIV, but healthcare providers can prescribe effective treatment to prevent symptoms, transmission, and progression to stage 3 HIV, which is also called acquired immunodeficiency syndrome AIDS. When people take these medications according to the directions, they eliminate the risk of transmitting the disease to other people. When HIV is undetectable, it is not transmittable, meaning that it cannot pass from one person to another. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, which often occurs due to a viral infection. One of the most common hepatitis viruses is the hepatitis B virus HBV.

    HBV can spread between people in blood, semen, and other bodily fluids. Healthcare providers will classify an HBV infection as either acute, meaning that it is temporary and will last for a few weeks, or chronic, in which case it will be a severe and lifelong condition. Most people with hepatitis B do not show any symptoms, and those who do may mistake them for cold or flu symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they develop an average of 90 days after exposure to HBV. Hepatitis B is preventable. As with HPV, there is a vaccination available that protects against hepatitis B.

    Healthcare providers will look for signs of liver damage, such as jaundice. Some tests that can help diagnose hepatitis B include:. There is currently no treatment available for acute hepatitis B.

    Signs and symptoms of STIs in men

    However, people can use medications for chronic hepatitis B, and scientists are developing new medications. People who have chronic hepatitis B will need regular medical checkups for signs of liver disease. Many men who contract an STI do not have any symptoms, which means that the actual number of STI cases is likely to be much higher than the number of cases that healthcare providers see. With treatment, men with STIs have a good outlook.

    However, infections can become chronic, lifelong conditions if they do not receive treatment. Men can prevent STIs by using condoms during sex. It is also possible to prevent some STIs with vaccinations. Men who are sexually active should ensure that they have tests for STIs. The early detection of these infections will allow quicker treatment and stop men from spreading infections to others.

    Article last reviewed by Thu 20 September All references are available in the References tab. Chlamydia — CDC fact sheet detailed [Fact sheet]. Genital herpes — CDC fact sheet detailed [Fact sheet]. FDA approves expanded use of Gardasil 9 to include individuals 27 through 45 years old [Press release]. Herpes simplex virus [Fact sheet]. Hepatitis B questions and answers for health professionals.


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    HPV and men — fact sheet [Fact sheet]. Vaccinating your preteen or teen. Sexually transmitted infections STIs. STD prevention resources [Fact sheet]. Syphilis — CDC fact sheet detailed. MNT is the registered trade mark of Healthline Media. Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional. Privacy Terms Ad policy Careers.

    Don't panic about a possible correlation between STDs and dating apps

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    Dating Apps Are Being Blamed For The Rise Of STDs!

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