Thinking about STDs when you’re on Tinder may make you want to swipe left, but not so fast! Tinder just introduced a new locations feature for nearby STD/STI-testing clinics, helping make the dating game healthier for all involved. And knowing that your potential matches are also reminded of their sexual health really isn’t such a bad thing.
These changes follow pressure from the LA nonprofit group AIDS Healthcare Foundation, whose ads directly implied that dating apps like Tinder and Grindr were associated with the spread of chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Tinder had sent the group a cease and desist letter back in the fall, but the group has only now taken down the billboards, following Tinder’s new location feature connecting users to sexual health centers.
“We are unfortunately now waging an uphill battle on this front,” explained the foundation’s senior director, Whitney Engeran-Cordova, in a statement about the controversial campaign. “The CDC also noted the majority of these infections are affecting young people — the demographic that is on their mobile phones all day long.”
Not convinced we need this new Tinder feature? Think again:
- The Public Health Agency of Canada reports that since the ’90s, rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have been increasing steadily.
- The national rate of chlamydia climbed over 70 per cent in the decade between 2000 and 2010.
- Women between 15 and 19 years of age are particularly vulnerable to gonorrhea, reporting it four times the national average.
- And syphilis has gone from being a disease of the past to a thing doctors are seeing again. Rates skyrocketed 456.7 per cent between 2000 and 2010.
Given that our generation has been (unfortunately) dubbed the “Pullout Generation” by media, these stats are worrisome but not that surprising, which makes testing all the more important.
Tinder gave its reasons for the new developments in a statement, according to Time: “An important aspect of any healthy relationship — whether formed on Tinder or otherwise — is ensuring sexual health and safety,” writes the Tinder team. “While the CDC, who conducted the largest and most credible study on the topic, has never identified any connection that supports the idea that Tinder usage correlates with, let alone causes, an increase in STDs, we’re of course in favour of organizations that provide public education resources on the topic.”
And please don’t let these new features that make it tough to ignore your sexual health (or my constant texts to your cellphone, asking you to confirm you’re still alive — sorry, Sally!) stop you from swiping right. Instead, let this new feature empower you to take control of your sexuality.