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Michael Weinstein, the foundation’s president, said that the campaign aims to draw a link between the rise of dating apps and a recent increase in STD rates in some cities.“It’s logical, if you can be hooked up with someone in an urban area within minutes,” he told the Associated Press, “of course you’re going to have to more STDs.” Though the research on whether or not dating apps have killed courtship and irrevocably altered romance as we know it is largely inconclusive, the correlation between online and mobile dating and increased rates of STD transmission is more compelling, at least on a state-by-state basis.Just blocks away from the Tinder headquarters in Los Angeles, a large pink and purple billboard encapsulates much of what critics don’t like about the dating app. The billboard is part of a campaign from the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which posted its warnings about Internet hookups and venereal disease in more than 50 spots around the city last week.Two pairs of people are silhouetted against a bright background, their foreheads inclined toward one another, their noses nearly touching. The organization, which has also lobbied for stricter regulation of the adult film industry and, controversially, against a new preventative HIV drug called Pr EP, says that the quick and casual encounters made possible by dating apps are a “digital bathhouse for millennials, wherein the next sexual encounter can literally just be a few feet away — as well as the next STD.” Over at Tinder, people were not pleased.“This technology coming into play aggregates the demand and supply of willing participants, so the spread will be more prevalent,” co-author Jason Chan told Vice News, “Now we have apps on our mobile phones instead of a website so the access becomes that much easier.My suspicion, without empirical testing, is that it makes it even more widespread than with Craigslist, because now people are traveling with phones and can find someone to hook up with tonight, where they are.” But lots of public health officials say this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.Other factors — especially Utah’s abstinence-based sex education — make it difficult to educate and protect people from diseases, she said.
Despite Gluckman’s early naiveté about the virus, condom use was mandatory with every one of her partners, and Gluckman made sure to get tested for HIV every time she got together with a new boyfriend.Meanwhile, Grindr, an app aimed at gay men, told the L. Times it has dropped the foundation’s paid ads for STD testing from its site and is “assessing our relationship” with the organization.But the AIDS Healthcare Foundation said it would not be backing down.Apps make casual, anonymous encounters easier, and it’s almost impossible to find partners again afterward — meaning that it can be harder to track down others who have an STD and help them get treatment, Beltran said.But the links between STD rates and app use in Utah are still anecdotal, Beltran told Boston public radio station WBUR.
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The app has a section of its site devoted to sexual health, and partners with health organizations for national studies, according to the L. “At the end of the day, we are all on the same side in this issue, and strive to work with our partners and advocacy groups to achieve similar goals.