LOS ANGELES (CBS Atlanta) – Sex on demand has unintended consequences, according to a new study.
Gay men who contact each other through smartphone apps like Grindr and Recon may be at higher risk for certain sexually transmitted diseases, reports Live Science.
The research involved more than 7,100 gay and bisexual men who were tested for STDs at a sexual health center in Los Angeles between 2011 and 2013.
Those men were asked about their use of social networking to meet sexual partners.
Men who used smartphone apps for hook ups were about 40 percent more likely to be infected with gonorrhea compared with those who used Internet websites, such as Manhunt and Adam4Adam, to meet sexual partners, the study found.
When compared to gay men who met their sex partners in bars, clubs and other face-to-face venues, those who used their smartphone apps were 23 percent more likely to be infected with gonorrhea and 35 percent more likely to contract chlamydia.
“Technological advances which improve the efficiency of meeting anonymous sexual partners may have the unintended effect of creating networks of individuals where users may be more likely to have sexually transmissible infections,” said the researchers, who were from the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center in Los Angeles.
The researchers said this new information is crucial for public health policy makers. For example, clinics may want to develop their own apps to encourage gay men to get frequent STD tests.
“Technology is redefining sex on demand — prevention programs must learn how to effectively exploit the same technology,” they wrote.
The study is published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.
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