2014 saw a dramatic rise in STDs according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and those numbers were especially high among younger people. Rationalizing that those younger people are also mobile phone users, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation started putting up billboards in Los Angeles and New York that associated the dating app Tinder with STDs.
Now, it’s not a fair assumption that the existence of dating apps is leading to a greater instance of sexually transmitted diseases, and it certainly can’t be entirely Tinder’s fault. There are numerous dating sites and applications that didn’t exist even a few years ago, but the ease of using such apps isn’t necessarily resulting in more unprotected sex. It’s too early to know if that data reflects more cases, or just more people getting tested, so the AIDS Healthcare Foundation took a swing in the dark, and an ill-informed one at that.
But, they did get what they wanted, it seems. Tinder recently announced that they would be adding a link to a free STD testing site location app from Healthvana on their website, and including it in the frequently asked questions section of their app. They did, however, make sure to note that the CDC has not identified any correlation, much less causation, between an increase in STDs and the use of Tinder or any other dating app.
The inclusion of the links is a good thing, all in all, but it was achieved not by two groups working together, but by a non-profit using it’s clout to bully a technology company. There has to have been a better way to get this same result, namely they could have simply approached Tinder with the idea that they make such information available. It certainly wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for a dating site, and also doesn’t reflect poorly on them. Maybe next time.