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What’s This about Craigslist & STDs?


Is our obsession with going online for everything causing a rise in STDs?

A recent opinion column in the Washington Post featured the topic of STDs and Craigslist. A group of researchers from New York University’s Stern School of Business believe there is a link between the rise of STDs and online relationships. They feel that a generation of online dating, Craigslist’s “personal ads” forums and the desire of instant gratification have all led to this rise in disease. The article says,

“The authors link the site to a 14 percent increase in the rate of new AIDS cases, or more than 6,500 new infections each year, and a similar increase in syphilis infections. “The ease of seeking sex partners through Craigslist’s personal ad listings [has] brought a culture of sexual openness to the younger generation not seen since the seventies,” they write.

The article also goes on to report about the geographic research findings that pointed to evidence that having Craigslist in an area correlated with an increase in disease. Read the full Washington Post article on Craigslist & STDs.

Is the Problem Craigslist or STDs or Both?

Ask anybody who works with teens and/or in an STD testing facility and they will tell you the same thing – STDs are a major problem and they aren’t going away … at least at the moment. Headlines hit almost every week about the rising occurrences of STDs reaching “all-time highs” in multiple cities and states across the country. And that’s just in the U.S. STDs are becoming a major, major issue.

While some may want to blame it on Craigslist, others will find ways to blame it on something else. And the truth is there are probably many factors going into the skyrocketing rates of STDs. Through it all one thing remains clear:  the need for STD testing and treatment, if applicable, is bigger than ever before.

Educating on STDs

One of the first steps that must be taken is the education to teens AND adults about STDs. Many of even the most common STDs do not carry any symptoms at all. If someone exposed doesn’t have any symptoms, they might not even know they have an STD and continue passing it along. This domino-effect has landed us in the troublesome spot we are today, and it must be stopped.

Sure, we might not be able to eradicate STDs completely, but education on the importance of testing is key. The treatment of STDs that can be aided or cured by medical care must be discussed. And the STDs without a cure need to also be addressed up-front at the beginning of a sexual relationship. Too many people aren’t talking … and disease is spreading.

So … is Craigslist responsible for a rise in STDs? Maybe not directly. But it’s probably one of the MANY things that have come on the scene and made STDs an epidemic problem in America. Start talking about it. Stop hiding it. And maybe together, we can try and get this problem under control… online and offline.

posted in STDs and have Comment (1)

One comment

  1. Comment by TEST SMARTLY LABS of Seattle on May 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    This is not the first time we have heard about problems with sexual activity and Craigslist. Contracting an STD is scary and they are 100% preventable. It pays to know your partner and to be aware of your sexual history and to ask your partner about their history. I am not sure how much you can blame Craigslist.

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