In the sex-on-demand digital age, it’s easier than ever for gay men to find each other in a crowd for sex. That good thing can quickly turn bad as new numbers reveal more STDs among men that use hookup apps like Grindr.
It’s not about haphazard barebacking habits either, and it’s on more than just Grindr. A new study published in the medical journal Sexually Transmitted Infections looked at more than 7,000 gay and bi men in Los Angeles who used Grindr, Scruff, Jack’d, Recon and your other favorite ways to find Mr. Right Now. True, Los Angeles isn't you, but we all know that gay hookup habits don't vary that much.
The study found that you’re at significantly more risk for the scratchies and uglies down there on hookup apps than in clubs, bars or through website profiles you browse.
Researchers point out: “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 than other, relatively less efficient social networking methods.”
They were 23% more likely to be infected with gonorrhoea and 35% more likely to be infected with chlamydia, although method of approach made no difference in these subject to the likelihood of infection with either HIV or syphilis.
And they add: “Technology is redefining sex on demand,” they say. “Prevention programs must learn how to effectively exploit the same technology, and keep pace with changing contemporary risk factors for [sexually transmitted infections] and HIV transmission.”
That last bit is important for the broader conversation, even if it is buried in the study. Besides protecting yourself during casual hookups, advocates and the rest of us normal gay Joes can also consider talking about ways to use the apps to keep up with prevention strategies. Even if some app ads are a boner kill.