Does Grindr Really “Lead To Gonorrhea?”
So far this year, two studies have been released reporting that use of Grindr and other smartphone hook-up apps is linked to a higher prevalence of sexually transmitted infections among men who have sex with men (MSM). One of these studies was published in January in PLoS ONE (co-authored by yours truly), while the other was published just this month in Sexually Transmitted Infections. The latter study made quite a media splash this past week, generating headlines such as this gem fromThe Daily Beast: “Grindr-ing Leads to Gonorrhea.” The subtitle for this headline pretty much sums up the current media narrative: “Log on, hook-up, get STD.” So there you have it—smartphone hookup apps cause STDs, right? It sounds like an intuitive conclusion, given the ease with which these apps allow one to locate sexual partners. But is the story really that simple? A closer look at the data suggests that we might want to rethink the notion that these apps cause risky sexual behavior.