Is There Any Correlation Between Growth In Social Media and STD’s

The benefits to our global community with the advent and growth of Social Media can be listed, seemingly, in a limitless fashion. For example, it has made the world a smaller place with its ability to instantaneously connect people. However, what is the downside risk in the massive growth that Social Media plays in our lives, and whom if anyone is looking at it? Attached are two articles that support one another in drawing a similar conclusion. That is: in the engagement of site-specific services, the likelihood of users contracting a life threatening STD increases.

Arguably, as people are connecting and sharing content on “craigslist,” the site should qualify as a Social Media site. The first article begins with: “Craigslist entering a new town causes HIV cases to go up 15.9 percent, according to a new study from the University of Minnesota.” This conclusion was drawn from analysis that spanned ten years across the majority of the country. This increase in percentage of HIV cases is equal to an increase in $62 million in health care costs.

In a similar vein, the second article points to applications such as “Tinder,” and “Grindr,” as being responsible for an overall increase of roughly 15 percent in STD transmissions. Some statistics from the piece include: “So-called ‘hook-up’ apps are being blamed for an increase in sex diseases. Gonorrhea cases in England have increased by 15 per cent in 12 months. Syphilis cases have increased by nine per cent between 2012 and 2013. Thanks to Grindr or Tinder, you can acquire chlamydia in five minutes’ “

1. “Craigslist linked to rise in HIV, according to a new study”

The study is published in MIS Quarterly.

Link: http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2015/02/02/Craigslist-linked-to-rise-in-HIV-according-to-a-new-study/6861422928588/

2. “Dating apps that pinpoint interested people down to the nearest metre blamed for soaring sex infections” 

Link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2895639/Dating-apps-pinpoint-interested-people-nearest-metre-blamed-soaring-sex-infections.html

Questions to Consider:

  1. Is Social Media responsible for the rise of unprotected promiscuity or does it simply aid in a larger underlying issue?
  2. Should there be a more stringent governance structure in place, to counter a growing epidemic? If so, who should be responsible for this?
  3. What, if any, ethical obligations do Social Media providers have? Should They?

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5 thoughts on “Is There Any Correlation Between Growth In Social Media and STD’s

  1. According to the two articles, it is true that social media maybe one of the cause of STD increase. Some dating apps make it much easier to date and even to have sex with someone people are not familiar with. But I don’t think this kind of apps/social networks should be blamed for helping increase the spread of STDs, it is the users that should be blamed. Even without the dating apps, some people may still find some way to satisfy their sex desires. This kind of social networks should remind its users to practice safer sex, but the final decision makers are the users themselves. The government can carry out some policies to reduce the possibility of STD spread, including requiring providing real personal information when signing up.

  2. I agree with the above. I think this could be a great opportunity for condom-making companies to link up with social media platforms for a campaign. Also, politicians could say that we need more sexual health education in schools because people will do what they want to do, but we can teach them to do it safely.

  3. I agree with Siruihua in that social networks should not be necessarily blamed for the rise in sexual activity and/or STIs. Social apps do not cause sexual activity, rather social apps provide a tool for those seeking sexual encounters to find similar people; it would happen either way, social apps just make it that much easier. I would also argue that it is not only ‘hook-up’ sites like Grindr or Craigslist. Social apps have transformed the dating industry as a whole. Now people can connect to millions of people through hundreds of dating sites whether it be Match.com or ChristianMingle. If more people are meeting and connecting than ever before, it naturally follows that sexual activity will increase and therefore STI’s will increase. I also agree with Siruihua’s opinion that while the government can remind users to practice safer sex, it is not their place to regulate these apps.

  4. This is an interesting connection, however I do not believe social media is completely responsible for the rise in STDs. I understand with the increase dating apps, the more often users will go on dates and connect on a physical level. Ultimately, it is the individuals’ choice if they decided to use protection or not. Social media is a platform to virtually connect and engage people; it does not force social interaction and certainly not STDs. I do not believe that it is the governments duty to step in and regulate social media/dating sites. They should simply provide education resources.

  5. I think social media could be responsible for the rise of unprotected promiscuity, but this is simply one of the smaller detriments that results from a plethora of benefits. I really don’t know of any more stringent governance structure that could be in place. I would also like to see the stats of STDs when other communication outlets were created. For example, the telephone, email, instant messaging. Could STDs have also increased after those developments? I do not think the social media sites should assume any responsibility. It should fall squarely on the users of the site. Just use protection!

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