Syphilis rates are up 79% in one year and online dating sites are thought to be the culprit. Rising STI rates in the States are thought to be signaled by the sheer wealth of one night stand options available on the internet. Can we really blame social media for increasing rates?

According to the Rhode Island Department of Health, the number of syphilis cases rose so high in just one year, between 2013 and 2014. Gonorrhea cases too were up 30% and HIV cases 33%. The accessibility of random sexual encounters has made these trends worse than before according to the department. Using social media is now being classed as a high risk behaviour by the Rhode Island group.

We have to keep up with technology and educate our children early on and adjust to the modern dating trends and behaviours. Of course these figures are alarming, especially the 79% hike in syphilis infections, a potentially deadly disease, but we must be aware that as social behaviours change, our education system has to change with it. Dating sites have done wonders for people these last few years; people who have found it difficult to meet partners in the past or who were too busy to partake in a social scene outside of work or family. Online dating now means that people can have a romantic life after a marriage break down, or at a more senior age when they are not enthused by the bar and club scene and even the busy worker who simply doesn’t have the time to wait to find a partner. It gives people the power to take their romantic life into their own hands and that’s never a bad thing. Loneliness is a huge problem for hundreds of people all around us causing mental health issues with sometimes irreversible effects. I wouldn’t shun online dating for these rises in STI rates but it is important to note that more than ever we should be aware of the risks with unprotected sex and must be educated about our sexual health from an early age.

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