Public Health Officials Use Dating Apps For STI Tracing

Linn County Public Health in Iowa, USA has shared how it uses dating apps to inform users that they may be exposing others to sexually transmitted infections. This comes as the nation faces a “surge” in STIs, including gonorrhoea and syphilis. 

Staff from the clinic used to call, text, and even Facebook message individuals as part of their contact tracing procedures. But now they’re seeing the most success by creating their profiles on dating apps and messaging individuals they’re looking for, they told CBS news. 

This approach is effective as “many” people find sexual partners online, but only have a screen name and a picture to go by. Health officials look to contact these sexual partners of infected individuals through dating apps, a method that results in initial contact 75% of the time.

On top of contact tracing, dating apps can also provide useful tools for disseminating information. Linn County officials have shared PSAs on dating platforms, with users then visiting the clinic to claim offers for free STI testing, for example.