Facebook linked to rise in syphilis STD
Facebook has been linked to a resurgence in the sexually transmitted disease (STD) syphilis, according to health experts.
The virus has increased fourfold in Sunderland, Durham and Teesside, the areas of Britain where Facebook is most popular, because it has given people a new way to meet multiple partners for casual sexual encounters.
Professor Peter Kelly, director of public health in Teesside, said staff had found a link between social networking sites and the rise in cases, especially among young women.
He said: “Syphilis is a devastating disease. Anyone who has unprotected sex with casual partners is at high risk.
“There has been a fourfold increase in the number of syphilis cases detected with more young women being affected.
“I don’t get the names of people affected, just figures, and I saw that several of the people had met sexual partners through these sites.
“Social networking sites are making it easier for people to meet up for casual sex.”
In Teesside there were 30 recorded cases of syphilis last year, but the true figures are expected t be much higher.
Research has shown that young people in Sunderland, Durham and Teesside were 25 per cent more likely to log onto social networking sites than those in the rest of Britain.
A Facebook spokesman said: users should “take precautions” and be careful when meeting up with anyone they have met online.
Tags: Health Direct, Health Professionals, National Health Service, NHS, Sexual health, STDs