New guidelines from the National Health Service have said popular dating apps like Tinder should be targeted by organizations distributing free or cut price condoms in a bid to reduce rates of sexually transmitted infections.
The wide-ranging guidelines, issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) earlier this week, call for a range of condom distribution schemes to be provided to “meet the needs of different local populations.” The publicizing of such schemes should be done “on social networking apps (used to find local sexual partners) or websites (such as the NHS condom locator) and social media.”
NICE hopes that advertising on these platforms would point those most at risk of STIs to places where free or cost price condoms are distributed, such as pharmacies, GPs, universities and youth groups.
While there has been an overall decrease in the total number of STIs being diagnosed as of 2015, data from Public Health England shows that there have been large increases among young people aged 16- 24 and gay men.
Roughly 435,000 STIs were diagnosed in England in 2015 and NICE said that wider distribution of condoms could “significantly reduce” this figure, saving the National health Service millions of pounds a year.
Rates of syphilis rose by a staggering 76 percent from 2012 to 2015, while cases of gonorrhea rose by 53 percent over the same period. Chlamydia and genital warts were most common in the 15 to 24 age group, while most diagnosed with gonorrhea and syphilis were homosexual men.
“Condoms are the best way to prevent most infections being passed on through sex,” Professor Mark Baker, Director of the Centre for Guidelines at NICE said in a statement. “If local authorities and other commissioners can work together to improve condom availability and use amongst people at high-risk we could significantly reduce the rates of STIs.”
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