Last year, an Australian condom company used fake Tinder profiles to spread safe sex awareness. The question of STIs and finding partners online, however, is a classic "chicken and egg" conundrum: Sex and online dating also make it possible for connections to form between people who might not otherwise have met.
Our social networks tend to form with people who are like us in some way, whether that be via age, class, race, religion or simple geography. While people can be highly selective online, the nature of online data can also breakdown traditional social groupings. If you have sex with someone who is very different from your usual type, it alters the nature of your sexual network.
This alteration can impact on the spread of infections, particularly when a network with higher rates of infection overlaps with a network where infection is less common.
Take, for example, gonorrhea in Australia, which is far more common among younger than older gay men. If someone from a network of mainly older people has sex with someone from a network of mainly younger people, it creates an opportunity for infection to move between two distinct sexual networks.
Over time and with enough points of contact, the chlamydia prevalence in the older, less-infected network will start to look like that of the younger, more-infected network. This is, of course, only an illustrative example: But in our hyperconnected world, the chance you'll sleep with someone quite different from you — older, younger or something else entirely — is greater than at any point in our history. There was a chlamydia problem in Australia long before hook-up apps like Tinder and Grindr.
Condoms have always played a key part in preventing the transmission of STIs. Their use or lack of is an excellent predictor of infection rates. A recent study of single, heterosexual men in Australia found only 35 per cent used a condom at their last sexual encounter with a casual partner. There were also notable differences by age: Instead, older men relied on vasectomies as a form of contraception, which, alas, is ineffective for preventing STIs.
Another study found even for younger people who used condoms, nearly half had done so incorrectly, or experienced slippage or breakage.
These issues could be undermining the effectiveness of condoms to protect young people against STIs. Meanwhile, although gay and bisexual men have historically reported quite high rates of condom use, in recent years this appears to have declined. A report from the Centre for Social Research in Health found while 68 per cent of gay and bisexual men surveyed in always used condoms with casual partners, the proportion had fallen to 47 per cent in Condom use undoubtedly plays a part in rising rates of STIs — but experts agree it doesn't tell the whole story.
How much do you know about sexually transmitted infections? In , Australia recorded its highest number of short-term visitors, with more than , backpackers. Travel can move infection from one part of the world to another. But more than that, people caught up in the joys of travel tend to engage in practices that put them at risk for STIs. This includes the use of drugs and alcohol, having new or multiple sexual partners, and using condoms inconsistently.
This story was changed to give greater prominence to the paragraph about more accurate testing. He is also one of RN's Top 5 Under 40 scientists. If you have inside knowledge of a topic in the news, contact the ABC. ABC teams share the story behind the story and insights into the making of digital, TV and radio content.
Read about our editorial guiding principles and the enforceable standard our journalists follow. Fitness Medicine Mental health Diet Programs. Why are STIs on the rise in Australia? So, what's behind these changes? More testing means more diagnosis Experts agree that for chlamydia, most of the increase can be attributed to diagnostic testing.
The number of tests conducted has increased over time as well. But what might be driving the increases in gonorrhoea and syphilis? Online dating expands our sexual networks In the past decade, online dating has had probably the biggest single impact on our sexual lives. Condom brand uses fake Tinder profiles to promote safe sex Fake Tinder profiles promote safe sex. Australia's chlamydia problem is way older than Tinder Australia's chlamydia problem is way older than Tinder.
There also seems to be a much larger focus on wealth and material items compared to other Aussie cities. With any large international city comes certain elements that make life and living tough.
Real Estate is over-priced, trying to park your car in city surrounds is a joke, and it can often feel that people just do not have the time of day to pay anyone any attention. Perhaps finding a relationship in Sydney is a tough assignment. But according to research Sydney is Australia's most fertile city and ripe for casual sex. Let's face it, all this pent up attitude and pretense can't stay locked away forever. So if you're planning a trip to Sydney and looking for fun, do a little research on the hotspots and entertainment hubs - you'll love it!
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