Tech Consequences: Nurses Start Using Dating Apps For Contact Tracing STDs

A worthwhile report and Midwestern practicality spoiling the previously "consequence-free" online hookup culture. 

Caveat . . . Online hookups were NEVER consequence-free and often more dangerous than just meeting some creep at a bar. Sadly, the NEXTGEN seems to be VERY slow in learning that truism.

Here's the word . . .

Traditionally, contact tracers interview people infected with an STI about their recent encounters and then reach out to those partners to tell them about the potential exposure.

Linn County contact tracers use the apps throughout their workday. Grindr, in particular, relies on geolocation, showing users matches who are close by. So the tracers use the apps when they’re out and about, hoping to wander into the same neighborhoods as the person diagnosed with an STI. Sometimes users “tap” the contract tracers to see whether they’re interested — in dating, that is.

When the public health officials spot someone they’re looking for, they send a message asking for a call. It’s a successful method: Herber-Downey estimated they make an initial contact 75% of the time.

Linn County’s decision to move online comes as STI rates rise nationally, funding to fight them falls, and people adopt new technologies to meet people and seek fun. “STIs are increasing way faster than the funding we have,” said Leo Parker, director of prevention programs for the National Coalition of STD Directors, all while public health departments — many underfunded — are grappling with new behaviors.

Read more via link . . .

A New Use for Dating Apps: Chasing STDs

Heather Meador and Anna Herber-Downey use dating apps on the job - and their boss knows it. Both are public health nurses employed by Linn County Public Health in eastern Iowa. They've learned that dating apps are the most efficient way to inform users that people they previously met on the sites may have exposed them to sexually transmitted infections.