Syphilis is making a comeback among millennials, thanks to Tinder.
According to a new report issued by the Centers for Disease Control, there has been a 19 percent spike in the number of cases of syphilis from the previous year with most cases happening among 15-24 year-olds, the New York Post reported.
The reason for this spike, experts say, is because of the “Tinder effect,” or the idea that casual anonymous sex is easier because of online hookup sites like Tinder.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) in 2015 put up billboards in California encouraging users of dating apps such as Tinder and Grindr to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
Tinder wrote a letter in response urging AHF to take down the ads.
“These unprovoked and wholly unsubstantiated accusations are made to irreparably damage Tinder’s reputation in an attempt to encourage others to take an HIV test offered by your organization,” the letter read. “While Tinder strongly supports such testing, the billboard’s statements are not founded upon any scientific evidence and are incapable of withstanding critical analysis.”
Earlier this year, Tinder added an STD testing locator to its app.
Josh Bloom of the American Council on Science and Health said that the rise in syphilis among gay men is due to the fact that there are drugs that allow HIV-positive people to have unprotected sex without passing it on to uninfected partners.
In women, the rise in syphilis is due to the fact that women are using forms of protection during sex other than condoms.
“Kids are a lot more afraid of getting pregnant than getting a disease that only needs a little cipro,” Kay Hymowitz of the Manhattan Institute said.
Syphilis is hard to detect because its symptoms can mimic other diseases. It can remain latent in the body for years if left untreated.
But in the late stages of syphilis, the disease can cause damage to internal organs.