An alarming rise in sexually transmitted diseases in Southern California is being attributed to social media. The two most affected groups are youths and members of the LGBT community, according to local NBC affiliate in Sacramento, KRCA 3.
Social media expert Thomas Dodson, who spoke with KCRA, told a reporter that he held several focus groups in which he noted the rise of sexual activity spawned by social media itself.
Dodson cited contributing factors such as “constant connectivity” (apps such as Tinder and Grindr come to mind), “the pictures that they are sharing” (sexting has recently been on the rise, even in the popular app Instagram), and “access to the worldwide web that they [people] have.”
Gonorrhea and syphilis rates have shot up by 13% and 18%, respectively, between 2012-2013, according to a report by the California Department of Health. The report indicates that the highest incidents of STDs were found to occur in groups of youths between the ages of 15 and 24.
KCRA 3 reports that a recent study by the LGBT center said, “Men who use smart apps such as Grindr are 25% more likely to be affected with gonorrhea and 37% with chlamydia.”
Enrique Manjarrez, the outreach director for Breaking Barriers — a group which pushes for greater HIV testing among the LGBT community — says part of the reason for this dangerous rise in STD statistics is “the lack of education in talking about STDs and going after the youth and talking about the importance of getting tested.”