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Using dating apps to track STDs

Monroe County is using dating apps to track sexually transmitted diseases (STD) also known as sexually transmitted infections (STI). (Photo credit: Tinder)

Rochester, N.Y. - Monroe County is using dating apps to track sexually transmitted diseases (STD) also known as sexually transmitted infections (STI).

“It's another vehicle for reaching out to people,” said Commissioner of Public Health Michael Mendoza, MD, MPH, MS. “Letters don't really work, telephones can be helpful for certain individuals but as you know the smart phone is really the way to go these days.”

Monroe County has been using this technology for the last several years as a way to hopefully prevent the spread of these infections.

“People don't always use their name so there is a little bit of detective work to try to track these things and it's very important we protect patient confidentiality,” said Mendoza. “We don't disclose any names to other people.”

Mendoza says these infections are a significant problem in Monroe County, although there are signs some of the numbers are down.

“To see the numbers decreasing that can mean a lot of things and hopefully we're finding more people and we're treating them, but we never quit because we know there are more people out there with infections that we want to reach out to and ultimately prevent,” said Mendoza. “We are seeing an increase in syphilis, a decrease in HIV, an increase in gonorrhea, and about the same for chlamydia.”

Mendoza says other counties in the state have started using dating apps as a tool, modeling after Monroe County.

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