With all the digital dangers out there, like the Tide Pod Challenge, scammers, and catfishing, social media’s drama is finally being directed towards something positive. There have been numerous articles and studies showing that our advancements in technology and websites like Craigslist and apps like Tinder that facilitate internet hook-ups and sexual transactions are intricately tied to our sexual health. While easily accessible sexual encounters can prompt risky sexual behaviors that in turn increase the likelihood of STD transmission, social media platforms such as Twitter can actually predict the next outbreak of sexually transmitted diseases and infections.
While there is the snapshot trend of snapping out pictures of your mystery partner the morning after a one night stand, taking the walk of shame to a whole new level. Snap chat is also a quick way of letting everyone you may have hooked up with that you tested positive for something without having to go through the process of calling or texting them one by one. Unfortunately, the ability to screenshot these messages does leave you vulnerable to your snap to go viral.
There has been a boom in the oversharing on social media, while this may be off-putting at times one study suggests it could be beneficial to track these rises. Sean Young at the University of California, Los Angeles, and his colleagues analyzed tweets and narrowed down millions of posts to 8538 tweets that could be geo-located to US counties and included keywords such as “sex” or “suck” used in a sexual context. Areas, where sexual tweets were posted, saw a 2.7 percent increase in syphilis rates the following year. If you notice a sudden spike in your friends’ sexually explicit posts may indicate there’s been a spike in their unprotected sexual activity.
Remember the best way to avoid contracting an STD or STI is to use protection and get tested!