….Yeah, let’s all take a deep breath and take a step back from this little debate that is burning like wildfire up on the internets.(PS – if you feel burning while urinating, that could be a symptom of chlamydia and that would be best to go get checked by a health professional.)
But here is why we all need to relax….
The Rhode Island press release (check it out here) did not say that the increase of STIs in their state were attributable specifically to Tinder. What they said is that generic anonymous sexual encounters likely explain the increase of STIs. And this is an important point because…
They don’t know if the people who got an STI were infected due to an anonymous sexual encounter as the result of meeting someone on Tinder.
Think about that for a moment.
Maybe it was a sexual encounter with a friend and they just happened to let that ol’ “hey, are you clean?” convo slide because you know, it’s awkward.
Knowing what percent of new STI infections is directly attributable to Tinder is kind-of an an important detail in this conversation.
And also, while we’re all losing our bananas over this 79% syphilis increase…there is a reason why sometimes health agencies report the overall increase like 79% versus reporting the actual number of people infected with syphilis.
And that reason is because if they reported the actual values, they probably wouldn’t be that high.
For example… (and I’m no mathemagician but maybe this will make this more clear):
2013: 10 syphilis cases
(Say the next year there were 15 syphilis cases…that would be a 50% increase….you following along with me here?)
But in this example, there is a 79% increase…
2014: 17.9 syphilis cases
So yes, that is a big increase but it’s important for us to look at the absolute values.
Now don’t freak out…
I’m not saying that STI prevention isn’t important nor am I saying that these types of increases from one year to the very next are not troubling, but let’s make sure we have the specific numbers and stats in front of us before we freak out.
And by the way….if anyone can find the actual Rhode Island report where these numbers of infections are detailed, send it my way. I can’t find it (another problem I have when people release these kinds of press releases but don’t make the actual numbers available to us little nerdy researchers!).
Side note: Do you think Tinder is second-guessing their choice of a logo that includes a little burning flame? Just wondering.