This Study May Make You Think Twice Before Habitually Opening Up These Hookup Apps

bear-gay-apps-smartphones-scruff-grindr-growlrExtra! Extra!

This may come as a shock, but results of a research study conducted by the Los Angeles LGBT Center indicate that gay/bisexual men who use smartphone dating applications, such as Grindr, Scruff, and Recon, to seek sexual partners have a higher risk of contracting common sexually transmitted infections.

And just to gauge how many people we’re talking about here, Grindr alone reportedly has a user base of six million spread over 192 countries.

Thats a lot of chlamydia.

For the study, 7,184 men were tested for STI and provided information about their recreational drug use and social networking methods to find potential sexual partners. One-third (34 percent) of the respondents met sexual partners in person only; a slightly smaller proportion (30 percent) used a combination of person-to-person or online dating; and a slightly larger proportion (36 percent) used smartphone apps and/or a combination of previously mentioned methods.

According to the authors, smartphone apps were favored by younger, well-educated men under the age of 40 and by men of white or Asian ethnic backgrounds.

App users were also more likely to use recreational drugs, including cocaine and Ecstasy. There is most definitely not an app for that.

And here’s the kicker:

Guys who use apps to hook up were 25 percent more likely to be infected with gonorrhea and 37 percent more likely to be infected with chlamydia. However, there was no difference in their likelihood of infection with either HIV or syphilis.

“Technology is redefining sex on demand; prevention programs must learn how to effectively exploit the same technology, and keep pace with changing contemporary risk factors for STI and HIV transmission,” researchers write.

As someone who’s recently heard a healthcare provider at a gay clinic reductively refer to gonorrhea as “oh it’s just like getting a cold these days,” this does raise some interesting questions about the cavalier attitudes towards treatable STI in the gay community.

Especially as terms like “antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea” enter out lexicon.

Might make you think twice before you load more guys.

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  • Nowuvedoneit

    I miss the days of asl and I remember sitting in front of my laptop after discovering chat room. Biggest concern for me was trying to find a way go upload a photo of myself before the era of camera phones. I’m glad to be the old married fuddy duddy that has sex once in a blue moon. Shoot sex isn’t that a big issue in my life anymore.

  • Lvng1tor


  • money718

    This study is maybe the dumbest yet. Smh.

  • vive

    People who hook up have higher STD risk than people who don’t. It is just that most people now hook up online. Blaming apps for something that has always been the case seems a bit misguided.

  • michael

    @vive: Agreed. I lived in a small college town in the 70s with only 1 gay bar. Everyone would get the clap about once a year. It was just the same strain being passed around in the community over and over. Fortunately, a big honking horse needle full of amoxicillin in the butt cured it.

  • michael

    @Lvng1tor: Hey man – off topic, but how do you get a pic of yourself to show up?
    Also, when I click on your screen name (which is a different color), your personal Instagram page opens up. Seems odd, unless you want that to happen?

  • Lvng1tor

    @michael: I have a wordpress blog page I never use. The instagram is probably the first link I listed on the profile page. That’s why I have a pic. Thanks for letting me know about the instagram. I’d rather have it go to my twitter.

  • James Hart

    I didn’t need a research study to tell me this.

  • estemonte

    @money718: Why is the study dumb, exactly? It really irks me when a scientific study comes out and people think results are so obvious. Well, the study was need to prove or disprove that! And in this particular case the increase in STIs was not across the board (Did you read the article?). The study showed that there is a difference between different STIs (chlamydia and gonorrhea are increased in app users vs syphilis and HIV are not). It tells us about who are the users of the apps, and what STIs are prevalent in those groups. All this public health information is valuable for disease prevention. We should be THRILLED there are studies pertaining to gay men’s health.

  • ontheupandup

    @Lvng1tor: I could look at your pic all day long, Lvng1tor! Woof!

  • Mezaien

    Did you knew that rats that being injected with sweetener got better chance to get cancer.

  • seaguy

    Seems like I see the same people on them when I do a rare login myself. The grindr whores.

  • seaguy

    Before the apps it was the phone chat lines, or the IRC in the old days did they do a study on those methods?

  • Qjersey

    You actually have to have unprotected sex to get an STD, you don’t get the clap by tapping on an app.

    Nothing new. 10 years ago it was Manhunt will get you and STD, 10 years before that it was phone lines, 10 years before that is was bathhouses.

  • Joshua

    Shocked, I am shocked that people who have sex are more likely to get an STi :-)

  • AllenSF

    Does anyone else remember the AOL chat rooms of the 90’s? I was in heaven when my friend turned me on to them back in the day.

  • Haightmale

    Read the actual study before you jump to any conclusions. I did read the study, and queerty has left some tangible information from the study, out of the story. The study subjects were all hiv- men who went to the LA LGBT Center to be tested for STD’s. As a result, the study results might have skewed higher.

    In addition, they considered grindr, scruff, and recon, mobile apps to be “geo-social network apps,” and they considered adam4adam and manhunt’s mobile apps as internet hookups. That makes no sense! The bottom line in the study was that they would have to conduct a more in depth study.

    Seek the study out for yourself, because there are all these websites publiching these innocuous results, when in reality they are incomplete.

    Roy Steele

  • vive

    I am actually surprised so many people actually have the infinite time and patience required to hook up with these apps. I almost never do because I have a life to live. The return on time invested is so much lower than at live venues.

  • Mykaels

    /insert people whining about how we don’t go to bars to hook up anymore

  • Stefano

    @vive : that’s what i think too.

  • vive

    If you are going to participate in the online bathhouse that is Grindr, you might as well go to a real bathhouse, where you can hook up with 4 hot guys in the time it takes you to get 4 “sup”s on Grindr, you don’t have to worry about the safety of inviting people over to your place or of entering someone else’s apartment (who then don’t look like their picture, by the way), and condoms and safe sex information are at your fingertips.

    And no, Grindr is not “cleaner.”

  • Paco

    @vive: Oh but in the real bathhouse, some undesirable person (over 40, overweight, or simply the wrong ethnicity) might hit on them and they can’t simply block them. Grindr saves them from the horrors of such inconveniences real life presents. Or so they think.

    On topic though… It really isn’t about the method of hooking up that is increasing STIs. It is more about the perpetual fantasy that one can be completely carefree and irresponsible about sexual encounters with no consequences whatsoever. A fantasy that does nothing to reduce the number of infections.

  • Teeth

    Bunch of stupid malcontents around. Back a few years ago we were angry and demanding MORE research into how sex spreads disease– which disease, amongst who.. this wasn’t just a “sex causes disease” study.. this looked at a new social phenom, and tried to break down which diseases and people were being hit.. So it IS important because despite your foolishness, you are important.

  • EdgarCarpenter

    Clearly those people are using tainted phones! If they bleach their phone regularly, they won’t get STIs from it. How silly to blame STIs on phone apps.

    OF course, if you have more sex with more men, you will probably pick up more STIs, either the official ones or the unofficial ones. That goes with the territory. And most men who enjoy a vigorous sex life while spreading happiness far and wide accept that fact.

    What should not automatically go with the territory is the anti-sex rhetoric and anti-sex shaming that always crops up when sexually active men are discussed. Too many of you have significant remnants of religious guilt in the back of your minds, and it comes out too often. You should work on that.

  • michael

    @EdgarCarpenter: I’m not sure that anti-sex rhetoric is based on religious guilt. Gay men under 30 have grown up with the reality that having sex can give you a disease that can kill you – and have been told so over and over. That internalized fear of sex, and the lack of knowledge about what sex used to be like when you only had to worry about the clap and crabs (both easily curable) leads to the sex shaming IMHO. I’m so happy that I had the chance to have 10 years of natural, free-love sexual experiences as a young man before the epidemic hit. Truvada appears to be the first real step in reclaiming our true sexual selves. Unfortunately, it is still an anti-viral with potential negative side effects, is expensive as hell, and not covered by most peoples insurance. As such, the search for an HIV vaccine must continue.

  • Random


    Actually, it’s not true to say that ‘gay men under 30 have grown up with the knowledge that sex can kill you’ because they are the ones that have grown up in the era of effective antiretroviral therapy. It was the generation before them that to deal with fact that sex, quite literally, equalled death.

  • Paco

    @Random: Sorry for butting in, but there are other forms of death that don’t mean the end of your life. It is true that men under 30 have grown up in an era of effective anti-retrovirals which have pretty much made it possible for those infected to live a normal lifespan, but the social stigma poz gay men experience is still very rampant in the community and can be equated to a form of death. This is especially true when you are a member of a community that places such a high value on sex and sex appeal. Once you become poz, your sexual value drops instantly in the eyes of many (or most). The party is basically over when that happens. Hopefully therapies like PrEP and a future vaccine will change that, but for now, it is still something that is massively life altering.

    It’s still wise to play safely folks, no matter the number of strangers you hookup with weekly or what method you use to find your sexual partners. There is no shame in being a sexual creature, but catching something that you can’t get rid of can create a great deal of shame that can last a lifetime.

  • vive

    @michael, a correction, Truvada for PrEP appears to be covered by most health insurance policies in the U.S., and in addition Gilead has a copay assistance program. I pay $10 a month for it.

  • Random

    @Paco: I agree with what you’ve said, but the person I was responding to was using death in the literal, rather than the figurative, sense. A big part of dealing with stigma is getting people to see HIV in perspective, which is a disease that can be effectively treated, rather than the ‘killer plague’ of the 80s.

  • Johnny

    Correlation does not imply causation. Simple as that.

Comments are closed.