Link Online Dating To Sexually Transmitted Diseases In Hawaii

iHonolulu – A rebound in the highest numbers of sexual infections in Hawaii in several decades could be linked to the prevalence of online dating, authorities said Sunday.

Cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have increased considerably in the state, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

All three infections were near or reached their highest rates in around 30 years, according to the Damage Reduction Services Branch of the State Department of Health.

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Hawaiian health authorities recorded 7,732 cases of chlamydia in 2018, an increase from 5,972 in 2008. They added that gonorrhea doubled in the last 10 years from 611 to 1,496 cases and syphilis infections rose to 180 cases compared to 180 cases. 38 from a decade ago.

With internet dating services, connections are being made with many more people faster, authorities said.

"While people rely on digital means to make connections, that can lead to circumstances where they could be more exposed to an infection without their knowledge," said Gerald Hasty, program coordinator for the state's harm reduction branch. "More couples, more likely to get infections."

There has also been a decrease in dependence on condoms or prophylactics for protection against acquiring or spreading STIs, the authorities added.

The figures that have been recorded in Hawaii coincide with the national rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis infections, which have increased for the fifth consecutive year, according to the authorities.

The increase "is not desirable, but not unexpected."

All three infections do not cause specific or worrisome early symptoms, so those who are infected "have no idea about it," Hasty said.

"That sets the stage for infections to spread," he added. "The lack of regular or routine exams helps increase rates."

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