Rhode Island, New Zealand, and southern California recently reported sharp increases in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Health department officials stated that these increases appeared to be due to the more widespread use of social media like Tinder, Grindr, and Facebook, which allow users to readily connect with and meet others. The purpose of this study was to see if U.S. states that have more users of social networking sites, dating sites, and dating apps like Match.com, Ashley Madison, Our Time, Down Dating, Bumble, Zoosk, Hinge, Score, At First Sight, Plenty of Fish, Eharmony, Adult Friend Finder, Tinder, Grindr, and Facebook have more cases of STDs after controlling for population, race, age, income, education, and population density. It was found that states with more users of Match.com, OKCupid, and Down Dating had a larger number of cases of STDs, while states with more users of Our Time, Ashley Madison, Facebook, How About We, Hinge, Adult Friend Finder, Grindr, Bumble, Score, Tinder, and At First Sight had fewer cases of STDs. While social networking sites make it easier for individuals to be exposed to an STD since in-network individuals may share an STD, many sites either attract individuals who are not interested in a short-term sexual relationship or who take precautions to avoid contracting an STD.
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