SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Many people in the Mid-South used dating apps for quick hook-ups, and health departments are concerned as popularity spreads, so do STD rates.
Some users called it spontaneous and fun, but health experts said it made casual sex easier than ever and spiked STDs rates.
“We’ve seen an increase in the number of people who tell us they found their partner using social media,” said David Sweat with the Shelby County Health Department.
Sweat said last year, one out of ten patients claimed they got a STD after meeting someone on a dating app or website.
A huge jump, considering Sweat said no one mentioned the dating apps three years ago.
He told WREG he expects the number to keep going up.
“We can’t really stop people doing a behavior like this,” said Sweat.
Instead, Sweat’s team adapted and came up with ways to fight back.
When an STD is confirmed, doctors at the health department find out who their partner was and which app they used.
“Then we or the Tennessee Department of Health can try to find this person, and discretely let them know, ‘Hey, you need to come in and be tested,'” said Sweat. “We try to convince them to do that.”
Sweat said proactive methods like these work.
STD rates in Shelby County, dubbed some of the highest in the nation, have dropped since 2009.
“Progress is being made, but we still have very high rates of sexually transmitted infections in Shelby County,” he said.
Some companies didn’t buy the claim and said there was no real evidence linking dating apps to STDs.
But users told WREG if you’re on the app, you’re likely looking for one thing.
“They’re trying to just get it on or whatever,” said Logan Simpson, who recently tried Tinder.
To get tested for STDs, head to the Shelby County Health Department.
It costs $10 for an exam, medication and treatment.