Using gay dating apps increases STD risk

New research has found gay men who use dating apps are more likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

Research published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections found those who meet sexual partners via apps such as Tinder and Grindr are 35 more likely to get chlamydia and 23 per cent more likely to get gonorrhoea.

However, the study also found that people are no more likely to contract syphilis or to contract human papillomavirus (HIV).

Data on 7,000 gay men who attended a sexual health clinic in Los Angeles between 2011 and 2013 was used for the report. It was found that more than a third (36 per cent) of them are now using dating apps to meet partners, while a third use person-to-person dating only and the remaining 30 per cent use a combination of the two.

The authors of the study wrote: "Technological advances which improve the efficiency of meeting anonymous sexual partners may have the unintended effect of creating networks of individuals where users may be more likely to have sexually transmissible infections than other, relatively less efficient social networking methods.

"Technology is redefining sex on demand. Prevention programmes must learn how to effectively exploit the same technology, and keep pace with changing contemporary risk factors for STDs and HIV transmission."

Using condoms is the only way to prevent pregnancy and avoid contracting STDs. Infections can be transmitted via oral, anal or vaginal sex.

Men who used the dating apps to meet sexual partners were also found by the researchers to be more likely to use recreational drugs, while the research discovered that users of these apps tend to be under the age of 40 and well-educated. App users are also more likely to be white or of an Asian background, according to the report.

Grindr is one of the most popular gay dating apps, while equivalents include Tinder - which is open to both straight and gay people - and Blendr.