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Tinder added a link to the Healthvana HIV and STD testing center locator after studies suggested dating websites and apps lead to an increase in STIs. 

Tinder promotes safe sex after studies suggest dating apps lead to an increase of STIs

Tinder added an STI testing center location finder to app.

Recent research suggests people should swipe left on dating apps to avoid sexually transmitted infections, but Tinder still thinks it is safe to swipe right.

Some doctors in the United Kingdom said dating websites and apps, such as Tinder, are linked to the recent increase in STIs, because of the ability for people to meet and change partners quickly on the app, according to a report by BBC Newsbeat.

STIs and sexually transmitted diseases are similar concepts, but more people are using the term STI, because not all infections turn into a disease.

Mackenzie Schoenherr, a freshman studying journalism, said Tinder could have an effect on a rise in STI rates because of how “hookup culture” is, especially at Ohio University.

Around 32 percent of American adults ages 18 to 34 have used online dating sites or applications, according to Pew Research Center.

“People are using Tinder just to have sex,” Schoenherr said.

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From 2013 to 2015, Ohio University dropped from No. 33 to No. 75 out of 140 college campuses ranked on the 2015 Sexual Health Report Card by Trojan. The No. 1 slot on the list, Oregon State University, has the best sexual health resources, according Trojan's ranking. The study takes into consideration factors such as “quality of sexual health information and resources” and “condom availability.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study on the topic and did not identify a correlation or increase between Tinder usage and STDs, according to Rosette Pambakian, the vice president of Global Communications and Branding at Tinder. However, Tinder wants to do its part in supporting public education about sexual health.

“An important aspect of every relationship — whether formed on Tinder or otherwise — is ensuring sexual health and safety,” Pambakian said in an email.

Even though Pambakian said there is no correlation between dating apps and STIs, Tinder recently added a link on its website leading to the Healthvana free HIV and STD testing locator. The link is under the newly-added Health Safety section of Tinder’s website, which encourages people to be open and honest with future partners about their sexual health.

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Morgan Traine, a freshman studying special education, said she thinks the STD testing center location finder is a good addition and doesn’t believe Tinder is contributing to a rise in STIs.

“If anything, I think there’s more protection (available),” she said. “(Tinder) promotes hookups, but, if anything, we know more about diseases.”

Hudson Health Center administers screenings for any STI. The cost of testing depends on a student’s insurance and coverage, Amanda Swope, a nursing supervisor at Hudson Health Center, said.

Swope added that appointments can be made for the screenings but patients can also walk in.

Athens’ Planned Parenthood, 1005 E. State St., provides STD testing on appointment. According to its website, people must call to get specific pricing for testing.

Recently, cases for STIs have been on the rise. Cases of reported chlamydia rose from 2.8 percent from 2013 to 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its 2014 STD Surveillance Report. Primary and secondary syphilis rose by 15.1 percent, and gonorrhea by 5.1 percent in that same timeframe. The report included several local and state STD case reports.

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A study published by the National Institutes of Health in 2014 found that men who use dating apps to find other male sexual partners in Los Angeles County experienced a greater risk of contracting gonorrhea and chlamydia.

“I don't know that the apps promote unsafe sex,” Swope said. “It’s really about the person themselves knowing that if they’re going to have sexual relations, they need to protect themselves.”

@_alexdarus

ad019914@ohio.edu

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