Health officials in Rhode Island are blaming online dating applications for a spike in sexually transmitted diseases, especially those among young adults.
Applications like Tinder are gaining more popularity as a way people can hook up with or date others. It works by matching couples based on their physical attraction to one another.
Brennan Zerbe of Charleston said he has never tried the app, but his friends have.
“It definitely expands the range of people you can kind of communicate and interact with,” he said. “You can also be pretty superficial and vain about who you are trying to go for and Tinder and these apps allow you to do that.”
Health officials warn these apps are contributing to people having unprotected sex and contracting an STDs.
“You should always know the history of any sexual partner and if you don’t know the history of any sexual partner, you should always wear a condom,” said John Law, the public information officer at the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department.
According to Law, STD rates in Kanawha County have been steady but the number of Hepatitis B cases have spiked.
“It can be contributed to drug use but Hepatitis B can also be transmitted by sexual contact,” he said.
Every Tuesday and Thursday the health department offers STD clinics where anyone can come in get tested and treated. The health department usually bills insurance but Law said the department will never turn anyone down.