March 5, 2016 at 10:48 am EDT | by Staff reports
Gay apps blamed for Vegas syphilis spike
Grindr, social media app, gay news, Washington Blade, syphilis

Officials say a national spike in cases of syphilis is tied to increased testing and a rise in anonymous sex via apps like Grindr.

LAS VEGAS — Nevada is experiencing the highest rate of syphilis in the Western U.S. following an outbreak in Las Vegas, the Associated Press reports.

It’s part of a national spike in cases tied to increased testing, a rise in anonymous sex via social media and less consistent use of condoms, health officials say, according to the AP.

Social media’s link to syphilis among gay men, which account for a majority of diagnosed cases, has led health officials to take their educational outreach directly to the websites and apps, in some cases creating profiles or buying advertisements.

Clark County health officials declared an outbreak in Las Vegas last week after noting a 128 percent increase in reported syphilis cases since 2012 — with 615 of the 694 cases involving men diagnosed last year, the AP reports. This makes Nevada’s rate of syphilis the highest in the Western U.S.

Health providers and officials have warned about the prevalence of anonymous sex through social media, particularly with an increase in the use of smartphone apps, the AP article said.

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