Dating apps leading to rise in sex diseases in Lincolnshire, say experts

The number of sexually transmitted infections in Lincolnshire has risen.
The number of sexually transmitted infections in Lincolnshire has risen.

Dating apps are contributing to more sexually transmitted infections (STIs) being diagnosed in Gainsborough and the rest of Lincolnshire, it is claimed.

New data reveals that 2,156 people across the county were diagnosed with an STI, such as gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia, in 2018, compared to 2,070 the previous year.

And health experts believe the trend is down to new sexual habits linked to the use of apps such as Tinder and Grindr, as well as public budget cuts in sexual health services.

Dr Mark Lawton, of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, said: “The use of dating apps is likely to be contributing to the increase in STIs, along with general changes in attitudes to sex.

“This is happening at a time when we’re seeing significant cuts to funding of sexual health services, which are affecting access to timely testing and treatment. This is all creating a perfect storm.”

The Terence Higgins Trust, a charity working on HIV and prevention of STIs, is calling for urgent action from the government.

Debbie Laycock, the trust’s head of policy and public affairs, said: “We are seeing soaring rates of gonorrhoea and syphilis, and increases in the number of people attending sexual-health services.

“This is against a backdrop of central government stripping £700 million from public health budgets in the last five years.

“There is also a decline in the number of chlamydia tests being carried out, and cases are rising.”

She said certain groups, such as gay and bisexual men, black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, were affected most.